Thousands of euros every day: What happens to the money in Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain?

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Every day, visitors to Rome throw thousands of coins into the famous Trevi Fountain.

Numerous tourists crowd in front of the iconic Trevi Fountain – especially in the high season. When travelling to Rome, they don’t just want to admire the baroque building, they also want to throw a few coins into it. Throwing the money over your left shoulder with your right hand is important. According to legend, this ensures you will soon return to the Italian capital. A second coin is said to make you fall in love with a local, and a third coin will ring the wedding bells.

More than one million euros end up in the Trevi Fountain every year
According to a report in Der Spiegel, the myth was invented by the German archaeologist Wolfgang Helbig, who spent 50 years of his life as a professor and art dealer in Rome. Every year, around 1.4 million euros end up in the Trevi Fountain—that’s an average of 4,000 euros thrown into the water every day in various currencies. A long dispute once broke out over who owned these sums.

The coins used to be common property, reports the portal Finanzen.net. This meant anyone could take money from the fountain at will. The city tried several times to stop this and brought charges against the citizens who enriched themselves with the coins. Most of the cases ended in acquittal. Nevertheless, there were a few exceptions. Roberto Cercelletta, also known as “D’Artagnan”, was often caught standing in the fountain basin and stuffing his pockets with coins, reports Travelbook. Once, he is said to have pocketed 600 euros. He is said to have never paid the fine of 500 euros imposed on him.

Money from the fountain is used for charitable purposes
In 2001, Mayor Francesco Rutelli ended the conflict for the time being. It was fitting for such a “romantic gesture” to help people in need. According to Spiegel, he decreed that the fountain proceeds should go to Caritas. It was then officially decided that the money would belong to the city of Rome when it landed in the fountain basin – and that it would then be passed on to the charity organisation.

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