The stone rendering of Tritons guiding the shell chariot of water god Oceanus glowed with new high-tech lighting after the most drastic clean-up in its more than 250-year history.
Marking the end of an aqueduct said to have carried “Virgin Water” to ancient Rome, the fountain now boasts fresh pumps and a pigeon deterrent system following a 2.2 million-euro ($2.4 million) facelift.
The work, sponsored by fashion house Fendi, began in 2014, some 25 years after the last major restoration, amid concern over stone laurel leaves tumbling from the facade.
“We heard two years ago just by chance that the fountain was losing pieces and we immediately called the Rome government,” Fendi Chief Executive Pietro Beccari said.
Transparent barriers around the basin and a footbridge that had allowed visitors to observe restorers at work were removed, returning the scene of screen siren Anita Ekberg’s late night dip in the 1960 film “La Dolce Vita” to its former glory.
Tourists in the piazza, named after the three roads (“tre vie”) that once met there, waited to throw a coin into the newly-crystalline water in homage to the tradition that doing so guarantees the thrower a return trip to the Italian capital.
“It’s in the movies and it’s beautiful, especially now that it’s been all cleaned,” said Hannah Cowley, 33, a nurse on her honeymoon from Australia. “I’ve been watching it on [a live online camera] and hoping and hoping and hoping that it would be ready while we are here.”