Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

What does Rome do with all the Trevi Fountain coins?

Every day thousands of tourists in Rome toss coins into the Trevi Fountain.

One of the most popular traditions for tourists visiting Rome involves throwing a coin into the waters of the Trevi Fountain in the hopes of returning to the Italian capital once more.

According to tradition, tourists who toss coins into the basin of the Baroque monument - right hand over left shoulder with eyes closed - are guaranteed a return trip to the Eternal City.

But where do all the coins end up?

Since 2001 the Catholic charity Caritas has been the beneficiary of the swept-up coinage which it uses to provide help to Rome's homeless people and families in financial difficulty.

This arrangement was introduced by former mayor Walter Veltroni, before being continued by subsequent administrations, and was renewed recently for three years under the city's present mayor Roberto Gualtieri.

So how much money are we talking about?

The coins thrown into the Trevi Fountain add up to the princely sum of around €1.5 million each year, working out at roughly €3,000 a day.

2023 was a record year for Caritas, which was founded in Rome in 1971, with around €1.6 million swept out of the fountain for charity according to local newspaper Il Messaggero.

Not just coins

And it's not just coins that end up in the waters of the 18th-century monument which was immortalised in a famous scene from Fellini's classic movie La Dolce Vita.

Some of the more unexpected items fished out of the water include glasses and even dentures, Caritas volunteer Fabrizio Marchioni told Il Messaggero.

"Bracelets are the objects we find most often" - Marchioni said - "When people throw the coin sometimes the bracelets comes loose and falls into the water."

About three times a week municipal workers rake up the cash which is taken to a warehouse to be washed and sorted.

Coin theft

Periodically police catch people in the act of stealing the coins from the fountain.

The most infamous coin thief was Roberto Cercelletta, known as D'Artagnan, who died in 2013.

D'Artagnan usually struck at dawn and was arrested numerous times over the years, receiving hundreds of warnings from police to stop stealing the coins.

In 2002 he even appeared in The New York Times and in 2011 he staged a protest at the landmark fountain, his "place of work", claiming that collecting the coins was his official "profession" for years. He was arrested on that occasion too.

Giustino Trincia, director of Caritas of Rome, has managed the Trevi funds since 2006.

"The coins come from all over the world" - Trincia told Il Messaggero - "Not only euros but also dollars and pounds. Foreign currencies are separated from euros to be exchanged."

Thanks to the work of its volunteers, Caritas only spends about six per cent of the total annual amount of raked-up coins on costs related to sorting and managing the money.

The charity channels the funds into running canteens, helping poor people to buy their groceries, assisting people wih Alzheimer's and providing help to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

So when tourists throw coins into the Trevi Fountain - in addition to hoping that their wish comes true - they are in fact helping people that need it the most.

General Info

Address Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

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What does Rome do with all the Trevi Fountain coins?

Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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