Anyone who has ever watched television must certainly have seen the 1950’s movie Three Coins in the Fountain, at least once. Personally, I’ve seen it at least a half dozen times and always get teary eyed when Dorothy McGuire’s character gets drunk before being able to tell Clifton Webb’s character that she’s been in love with him for decades. I might have needed a drink to get through that myself, but for different reasons…Rossano Brazzi and Louis Jordan were far more appealing to the teenager in me. But more to the point, after seeing the movie, who could forget the 3 leading women going to this fountain on the morning of their departure for America, to toss in their coin, in hopes that it would guarantee them a return visit to Rome? Who could lose the image of the wide angled shot of the fountain and the piazza that were completely empty in the morning? It was that very image that inspired me to visit the fountain on my first visit to Rome.
What I found was a very crowded piazza with a large fountain set against the wall of a building, where other buildings encroached upon the space to make the fountain look over scaled and oddly small all at same time. Steps had been built to allow even more people at one time to crowd the piazza and the Trevi looked like it could not possibly be the same one filmed in the movie. Oh, the magic of Hollywood! Still, it was a bit of a thrill, and to this day I watch movies filmed in a country I have immediate plans to visit. I still return to the Trevi to see if it seems smaller or larger than the last time, and my perspective does change, but it has never once been empty.
Okay, grab your coin and go ahead, toss it backwards into the fountain, like millions of tourists for over half a century. However, if you save it instead of throwing it away, you may be able to afford your return airplane ticket just a little bit sooner. Since the fountain and large crowds will be there all day and night, you might as well go in the early evening around dusk when the lights go on. I don’t think I ever tossed a coin there, but perhaps just paying your respects is enough,because I’ve been back to Rome at least ten times since my first trip.