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More than one million Euro gets thrown into Rome’s Trevi Fountain each year. Where does the money go?

Simon Calder’s Travel

For hundreds of years, when in Rome, visitors have flocked to the Trevi Fountain to make a wish, following a storied ritual.

Throwing coins into the water, few gave them a second thought.

As visitors’ coins carry wishes for love, good health or a return to the Eternal City, they provide practical help to people the tourists will never meet.

Today, coins pile up for several days before they are fished out and taken to the Rome division of the worldwide Catholic charity Caritas, which counts the bucketfuls of change and uses them to fund a food bank, soup kitchen and welfare projects.

In 2022 Caritas collected 1.4 million euros ($1.52 million) from the fountain and it expects to have gathered even more in 2023. Rome is one of the world’s most visited cities with 21 million tourists.

Catholic charity Caritas employee Fabrizio Marchioni, 52, carries a bucket containing coins collected at the Trevi Fountain


Extracting the coins is a spectacle and involves workers from regional utility ACEA balancing on the edge of the vast Baroque fountain, using long brooms and suction hoses.

The coins are then given to Caritas, where they are dried with hairdryers and cutlery dryers and sorted and counted.

Signs around the fountain explain that the change will go to charity – a thought that pleases many of the tourists posing by the landmark.

“I wanted to make a wish which is dear to my heart,” said Yula Cole from Brazil after throwing in a coin. “But I also know that this coin is not just staying there but will help needy people. I made a wish but hopefully this money will help other people’s wishes too.”

Day and night, throngs of people crowd around the fountain posing for photos. Legend says that if you throw a coin by the right hand over the left shoulder into the fountain, you will return to Rome. People eagerly add their own personal wishes.

“I am tossing a coin as they say if you toss a coin you come back to Rome and also because I want to make the wish to find love,” said Carola from Chile.

Carola, from Chile, throws a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy


The Trevi Fountain, completed in 1762, covers one side of Palazzo Poli in central Rome with its statues of Tritons guiding the shell chariot of the god Oceanus, illustrating the theme of the taming of the waters.

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