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Tourists toss more than $1.5 million into Rome’s Trevi Fountain

Roncoa | CC

Zelda Caldwell - published on 04/21/17

...and it all goes to help the poor.

At Rome’s Trevi Fountain, the coin you toss in goes to help the needy, and it’s no drop in the bucket. Last year, more than $1.5 million collected went to Rome’s poor.

For tourists visiting Rome, tossing a coin into the the Trevi Fountain is as much a bucket-list experience as seeing the Colosseum or the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. Legend has it that if you use your right hand to throw a coin over your left shoulder, you will one day return to the Eternal City.

According to the German press agency DPA, last year’s haul topped that of 2013 (the last year for which figures are available, due to the recent 18-month closure and refurbishing of the fountain) by 100,000 euros ($107,685).

Why the increase in tossed coins? Perhaps it has something to do with the increasing popularity of social media because the Trevi Fountain, like the Unicorn Frappuccino, was apparently made for Instagram.

The coin-tossing ritual has its roots in an ancient Roman legend, but became popular following release of the 1954 romantic comedy Three Coins in the Fountain.

Each day, between 6 and 7 a.m., the Baroque fountain — really just one part of a massive waterworks — is turned off, and more than 3,000 euros (about $3,225) worth of coins are swept up and collected. Where does all of that money go? The charity Caritas collects it and subsidizes a low-cost grocery story for Rome’s needy.

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