Laurel leaves around a column to the left of Rome's Trevi Fountain have been damaged, maybe because of the bad weather during the winter. The biggest fragment to fall off was up to eight cms, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

Describing the incident as "not a cause for alarm", the culture superintendent Umberto Broccoli said the salvage operation was under control. Broccoli believes that freezing weather conditions during the winter may have weakened parts of the monument causing it to crack.

While the city is planning an immediate restoration programme, other pieces considered at risk have been removed in a precautionary measure and taken to Palazzo Braschi for safe-keeping.

The last major restoration of the baroque fountain was undertaken prior to the Jubilee year in 2000.