Italy: G20 leaders toss coins in Rome's Trevi Fountain

Rome shuts off streets in historic centre as Italy hosts G20 Leaders' Summit.

Rome's Trevi Fountain provided the spectacular backdrop to the sight of G20 leaders throwing coins over their shoulders into the waters of the Baroque monument on Sunday morning.

Held amid tight security, the photo-op resulted in street closures across the historic centre ahead of the second day of G20 talks -  centred on 'PeoplePlanet, Prosperity' - at the futuristic Nuvola conference centre.

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi led the group, which did not include all of the G20 leaders, notably US president Joe Biden.

The atmosphere was relaxed as the G20 heads each tossed a €1 coin, with outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel rinsing her hands in the fountain's waters afterwards.

The coins were minted specially for the occasion and feature Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, the symbol of Italy's G20 Summit.

But why do tourists throw coins into the Trevi Fountain?

Legend has it that visitors who toss a coin into the fountain with their right hand over their left shoulder will be assured of a return trip to Rome.

This tradition, allegedly begun by 19th-century German archaeologist Wolfgang Helbig, benefits the Catholic charity Caritas which is entitled to the money - estimated at €1.5 million annually - to fund its shelters and buy food for the poor.

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Address Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

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Italy: G20 leaders toss coins in Rome's Trevi Fountain

Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy