Every year, the more than €1 million in coins thrown into the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome are hoovered up to feed, clothe, and house the city’s poor.
The 18th century marble fountain in Piazza di Trevi is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The backdrop for the fountain is the Palazzo Poli, given a new façade with a giant order of Corinthian pilasters that link the two main storeys. Taming of the waters is the theme of the gigantic scheme that tumbles forward, mixing water and rockwork, with Tritons guiding Oceanus's shell chariot.
Tourists flock to the spot throughout the year and tradition has it that if you put your back to the fountain and toss a coin over your left shoulder with their right hand, it supposedly guarantees you will one day return to the Eternal City.
The tradition was born from the 1954 film Three Coins in the Fountain about three American women living in Rome who wish upon the Trevi for love in the city. At the 27th Academy Awards in 1955, the film received two Academy Awards - for Best Cinematography and Best Song (by Frank Sinatra) - and was nominated for Best Picture.
The ongoing result is that coins worth over €1 million ($1 million) are thrown into its waters every year, which are all then collected up and put towards good causes.
Caritas, a charity managed by the Catholic church, receives this significant annual windfall and uses it to fund soup kitchens, homeless shelters and free supermarkets. It also goes towards the upkeep of a complex on the outskirts of Rome housing a nursing home, canteen and dental office for city residents living in poverty.
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