Lonely Planet Writer

Rome making plans for the money thrown into the Trevi fountain

The city of Rome may soon be making a profit from the millions of coins thrown into their fountains every year, marking a big change in policy.

The Trevi Fountain could soon be a money-earner for Rome. Photo by TTstudio/Shutterstock

More than €1 million is estimated to be left in the city’s magnificent fountains every year, with a huge bulk of money being taken from the Trevi fountain, where legend says you will return to Rome if you leave behind a coin.

Every day the coins are vacuumed from the bottom of the Trevi fountain, totalling approximately €3000 a day and Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi has suggested this money go towards the city where it can be used on “solidarity and social welfare projects” of the administration’s choosing.

A man gets to work cleaning the Trevi Fountain. Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Up to now, the money collected has been donated to Caritas, an international Catholic charity based in Rome who say the funds play a part in running their citadella a few miles from the centre, consisting of a nursing home, dentist and subsidised supermarket. In the last ten years, the amount of money thrown into the fountain has more than doubled and now the Roman government are considering using the funds themselves as they face into a budgetary crisis still owing billions of euro.

The city has previously tried to raise funds by implementing a series of new rules in the high tourist season, the breaking of which could be punished by fines. Until 31 October there was a ban on people drinking alcohol in the streets after 10pm and eating, drinking near the city’s fountains. Bathing and paddling in the fountains were also outlawed.

No matter where the coins end up, it’s unlikely Rome’s seven million annual visitors will forego the tradition of tossing coins in. While one coin is said to guarantee your return to the Eternal City, in recent decades many people have started throwing in two coins in promise of romance or three coins for marriage, in part inspired by the 1954 movie Three Coins in a Fountain.