The 19 BC by the famous Roman general Marcus

The construction of
Trevi Fountain began in 1732, during the papacy of Clement XII, in order to
replace a smaller fountain that originally stood on the site. The project was
awarded to the Italian architect Nicola Salvi after Pope Clement XII held a
design competition in 1730. Salvi’s design set the fountain against the
backdrop of an existing palace known as the Palazzo Poli, which is located
directly behind the fountain.

 

The fountain was constructed
in order to provide an above ground distribution terminal for the water that
flowed through the underground aqueduct known as the Aqua Virgo. The Aqua Virgo
was originally constructed in 19 BC by the famous Roman general Marcus Agrippa
who was the son-in-law and lieutenant of Emperor Augustus. In 1453 under Pope Nicholas V,
the aqueduct underwent restoration and was renamed Acqua Vergine (Italian for
the Latin name Aqua Virgo). According to legend the aqueduct was originally
named Aqua Virgo after ancient Roman Soldiers under the command of General
Marcus Agrippa, asked a young girl (virgin) for water and were led to the
spring that would later become the source of the aquaduct. The Aqua Vergine
also supplies water to several other fountains in Rome, including the fountains in Piazza Navona and Piazza
del Popolo. 

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The fountain consists
of a large façade in the form of a triumphal arch decorated with statues and reliefs,
in front of which is a large statue of the Sea god Oceanus riding a chariot
through the fountain’s waters. The chariot, in the shape of a seashell, is
drawn by two winged hippocamps (mythological sea creatures that were half horse
and half fish) who themselves are led by two tritons (mythological sea gods
that were half man and half fish).

 

The exact origin of
the fountain’s name (tre vie – Latin
for three roads or three ways) has been lost to history, but there are two main
theories. The first theory is that the fountain derives its name from the three
outlets of the water in the original fountain. The second theory is that it
derives its name from its location at the intersection of three roads.

 

Today, many visitors
to the fountain participate in the tradition of throwing a coin over their
shoulder into the fountain. The most popular legend regarding this tradition
holds that if you throw a coin with your right hand, over your left shoulder,
with your back to the fountain, you will be guaranteed to return to Rome. Another legend
holds throwing a second coin the same way will guarantee a new romance and
third coin will guarantee marriage.