Anyone heading to Rome for the first time knows they have to go to the Trevi Fountain and throw in a coin. It means you will return to the city. Clearly Rome has such a mythological power over us all that we don’t even take the time to decide if we enjoy Rome and want to come back, we just head straight for the fountain to ensure our return before we’ve even begun. Luckily Rome is that special you’ll want to return again and again so it’s not a coin wasted.
My first visit to Rome was literally for a few hours and, you guessed it, we hopped straight into a taxi at the station and asked to be taken to the Trevi Fountain. With barely an eye roll, the driver gave us our first lesson of Rome: the traffic and the insane driving. Then he dropped us on a fairly ugly roadside and pointed – or perhaps he was just holding out his hand for the tip. Anyway, down a small side road into a narrow square and there was the most enormous, out of scale fountain you’ve ever seen. It was not at all what I expected. Sort of tacked onto the side of a building.
But the Trevi Fountain itself is quite something to see. Ringed by hordes of tourists, sitting, resting, photographing, venturing closer to throw in their coin, the place is also alive with those trying to make a buck. Charming men offer you a red rose – then ask for money in return. They offer to take your photograph – then ask for money in return. Police patrol constantly to stop people wading into the water and scooping up all those coins; that is left to the municipal council who use the money for local charitable works. So it is money well spent twice.
- Philippa B.