They say three (Trevi) is lucky

They say three is a lucky number so a visit to Trevi Fountain today should provide a modicum of good fortune.  The Fountain is where three main roads converge and is also the terminal point of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct.  This area of Rome is where the Prime Minister and Parliament residences are and I’ve read it is a more expensive area of the Eternal City. It is also where summits are held.

Trevi Fountain

Today we have an early start, just a little after 7:00 a.m. This gives us the best chance of a photo-op without throngs of other tourists/locals.  Oddly, one coin thrown into the Fountain by my daughter becomes three in order to get that perfect shot with Trevi Fountain in the background. One coin means you’ll be back to Rome, two means you’ll fall in love and three supposedly means you’ll get married.  She was only trying to get the best photo so we didn’t really pay much attention to the beliefs about the coins although Rome definitely pulls you in and has a lasting effect on your urge to come back. 

As the sun climbs higher and the Fountain becomes more crowded we head west toward the Pantheon, a fascinating architectural masterpiece.  On the outside, above the columns, the Agrippa name is engraved.  Marcus Agrippa replaced the previous temple of Augustus Ceasar’s reign.  In the year 80 it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by Domitian.  Then, in 110 a lightning strike caused it to burn.  The third attempt to rebuild was around 98-117 during Trojan’s reign.  What did I say about the number three? The Pantheon is now considered the only monument in Rome that has remained almost unchanged since it was completed (it still has the original Agrippa name).  At one time it also held the record for the largest dome. That record stood for almost 1300 years.  However, it still is the largest unreinforced dome in the world. Its sixteen columns came from Egypt and that was no easy feat considering the distance they had to travel and the amount each column weighed.

The Pantheon

When Rome fell in the 7th century marble and gold were taken from the structure.  However, the floors have been recreated so you can still see the splendor of the Pantheon inside as well.  Those floors were built on a slope so water could flow toward the well-hidden drains. This was done due to the oculus serving as an open window at the top of the dome. The bronze which use to cover the portico was pilfered by Pope Urban VIII to construct canons and two bell towers (no longer part of the Pantheon).  The opening (oculus) at the top of the dome is the same height as the diameter of the dome, 43.2 meters (141.73 feet).  Compare this to the U.S. Capitol dome diameter of 29 meters (96 feet) while its height is 88 meters (288 feet).  However, Roman engineering prevents the walls from thrusting outward unlike other domes which are reinforced with tension rings (similar to metal straps on barrels) to prevent that thrust.  The twenty-five foot thick walls also help support the concrete dome of the Pantheon.  Is it any surprise that other countries have copied this ancient and mathematically precise building method? In the same piazza as the Pantheon there is the Fontana de Pantheon (fountain), another photo opportunity.  Maybe not as impressive as Trevi Fountain but certainly not nearly as busy with tourists/locals.  And, hidden just around the corner is La Casa Del Caffe Tazza D’oro Al Pantheon where we had Cornetto Brioche (chocolate croissants) and cappuccino for 2.30 Euros!  We felt like we had found a secret café no one else knew about but as it was approaching 9:00 a.m. it became busier. I guess our secret is out. Maybe not a lucky three but at least we had a wonderful breakfast (colazione) for vey little. Our day isn’t finished so we head to Trastevere, the Theatre of Marcellus, and the Capitoline Museum (Municipal Buildings). That means we are in for quite a walk. Rome is very walkable and we don’t want to waste time waiting on buses, digging for coins, or missing the inner workings of this ancient city. We’ll cover over six miles today by the time evening quietly seeps into the city.

Note the metal straps on the barrel (similar to what they have to do to reinforce a dome like structure).
The Spanish Steps very near Trevi Fountain.
Things you miss when you take the bus instead of walking in Rome.

9 Comments

    1. It is gorgeous. They do keep it in good shape and they collect approximately 1.2 million (Euros?) a year from the fountain. What is so great about it is the fact that money goes towards Rome’s homeless and poor.

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