The Trevi Fountain is the largest and most ambitious of the Baroque fountains of Rome. The fountain at the juncture of three roads ("tre vie") marks the terminal point of the "modern" Acqua Vergine, the revivified Acqua Virgo, one of the ancient acqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome. In 19 BC, supposedly with the help of a virgin, Roman technicians located a source of pure water some 13 km (8 miles) from the city. This scene is presented on the present fountain's facade. In 1629 Pope Urban VIII, finding the earlier fountain insufficiently dramatic, asked Bernini to sketch possible renovations, but when the Pope died the project was abandoned. In 1730 Pope Clement XII organized a contest in which Nicola Salvi initially lost to Alessandro Galilei, but due to the outcry in Rome over the fact that a Florentine won, Salvi was awarded the commission anyway. Work began in 1732, and the fountain was completed in 1762, long after Clement's death, when Pietro Bracci's "Neptune" was set in the central niche. Salvi died in 1751, with his work half-finished, but before he went he made sure a stubborn barber's unsightly sign would not spoil the ensemble, hiding it behind a sculpted vase. A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. Approximately 3.000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day and are collected at night. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome's needy.
A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. Among those who are unaware that the "three coins" of Three Coins in the Fountain were thrown by three different individuals, a reported current interpretation is that two coins will lead to a new romance and three will ensure either a marriage or divorce. A reported current version of this legend is that it is lucky to throw three coins with one's right hand over one's left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain.
An estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome's needy. However, there are regular attempts to steal coins from the fountain.