Sunday 21 January 2018

Bumper year for Trevi Fountain as new law stops thieves stealing thousands

The Trevi Fountain covered by snow
The Trevi Fountain covered by snow reporters

THROW a coin in the Trevi Fountain and you will return to Rome in the future is what the old legend says.

However it hasn’t been tourists returning that presented the problem for authorities in Rome – over the years thieves have stolen thousands of euro in donations from the fountain.

Last year an Italian undercover television documentary filmed a group of three men sweeping out the fountain with brushes, paying off the watching police officers with their new found riches before they left.

The police officers later argued that it was not a crime for the men to pick up discarded coins, however activists pointed out it was illegal for anyone to enter the fountain.

In order to remove the legal ambiguity around the issue, authorities passed a law which expressly forbid anyone to take coins from the fountain, except official agents of the Catholic Aid charity who collect the donations.

The results have been impressive, with an increase of 20-30% in donations. In 2010, before the new law was enacted, donations were €838,000. Last year this rose to €951,000 and in the first six months of this year €540,000 has been collected.

The landmark, commissioned by Pope Clement XII in 1730, was completed in 1762 and stands at the point in ancient Rome where there was a junction between three main roads.

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