What Happens to the Trevi Fountain Coins?

trevi fountain in Rome at dusk

I have thrown my fair share of coins into the Trevi Fountain. In fact, I make a point of tossing in a few cents whenever I find myself in the area. Even though I find myself unable to resist the romantic story behind the coin toss – I have often wondered exactly where the money in the Trevi Fountain ends up.

So, here’s more information on just how much money is thrown into the fountain, and where all those Trevi Fountain coins are donated.

side view of Trevi Fountain

How Much Money Goes Into the Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome. There is almost always a crowd around the gorgeous landmark, and most of these visitors leave at least a little change behind in the basin of the fountain. I have always been curious about how each little bit adds up over time and often wondered how much money ends up in the Trevi Fountain.

Some estimates say that the Trevi Fountain takes in about €3,000 every day. That adds up to around $3,300 USD (depending on the exact exchange rate).

I imagine this average is much higher on some of the busiest days of the year, but it works out to around US $1.5 million per year. So who gets to keep the money?

hand throwing coin in Trevi fountain

Where the Trevi Fountain Coins Go

The Trevi Fountain is free to visit so the coins do not actually go to the upkeep of the landmark itself. In fact, a recent restoration of the fountain had to be privately funded and luxury brand Fendi footed the $2.2 million bill to clean and repair the Trevi

When I first visited Rome in 2004, I actually saw a beggar woman going around with a magnet on a long stick to steal as many coins as possible from the water. More famously, a man known as D’Artagnan made a long career out of climbing into the fountain at night and helping himself to the Trevi fountain coins. When police tried to stop him, he protested by stabbing himself. (Note: He was fine after the stunt, but he passed away in 2013).

More regular patrols around the Trevi and a new law that charges huge fines for jumping in the water have seriously cut down on the money being stolen out of the landmark. That is great news because all of the Trevi Fountain coins are actually destined for charity.

The coins are gathered (or even vacuumed up), weighed, and cleaned. Then they are handed over to Caritas, a Catholic charity that is headquartered in Rome. 

Caritas reported that the Trevi donation increased 20-30% following the clamp down on the theft of coins from the water.

The money goes to fund everything from international emergency relief programs to initiatives supporting migrants and refugees right here in Rome.

tourists at the Trevi Fountain

The Right Way to Throw a Coin

Legend has it that everyone who throws a coin in the Trevi Fountain is destined to come back to Rome. Throw in two, and you might end up living in Rome. Toss in three and you’ll find love in the Eternal City.

The legend comes from “Three Coins in the Fountain,” the Academy Award-winning film from 1954. Even if the myth stems from a cinematic beginning, there is still something romantic about making a wish into Rome’s most famous fountain.

But did you know there is officially a better way to toss your Trevi Fountain coin? You don’t just hurl it over the crowd and hope for the best. 

First, stand against the barrier wall and turn your back to the water.

Next, holding the coin in your right hand, get ready to toss the money into the water.

When you throw it, aim to toss the coin over your left shoulder. This way, the coin passes over your heart on its way into the Trevi. 

hand holding coin in front of Trevi Fountain

It doesn’t matter how much money you throw in! The good luck of returning to Rome should be the same regardless of if you pitch in a penny or opt for a euro. Now that you know that the money goes to charity, there is really no such thing as tossing in too much. 

4 thoughts on “What Happens to the Trevi Fountain Coins?

  1. Robert Klein says:

    A Beautiful and Absolutely Magnificent Article about the Most Famous of the World’s MOST Famous Fountains…. LA FONTANA DI TREVI. .
    I believe you can Sell this Magnificent writing to All the Guide Books of the World that mention….. “”Bella ROMA””. You WROTE à PRIZE.. VERY Simply and Truthfully.. about
    “‘COINS in the FOUNTAIN”…
    HOW TO DO IT.. and
    WHY? ……….answer……….
    THAT’S WHY!!!!!
    as always….Robert Klein

  2. Robert Klein says:

    The TREVI FOUNTAIN….Amazing… Isn’t It !! Somewhere walking down winding narrow cobblestone streets off of Via Tritone all of a sudden…. BOOM!!! BOOM!!! HELP!!! HELP!!! …..

  3. Judith Patching says:

    My favourite city. I threw coins in the fountain when I was there in 1996.with my husband. Unfortunately he died in 2015,I have not been able to go back.one day hopefully.pleased to read where the money goes.

  4. Ron says:

    Francis Wey, Rome. 1897 writes what he saw at Trevi Fountain:

    “On the brink of the lower basin, on an evening when the moon makes this agitated sheet sparkle like the steel links in a hauberk, you sometimes see a young maiden bend over the water, Avhile a lover eyes her pensively. She has drawn, in a new glass which she will break as soon as used, some water to offer with a smile of hope to the friend, about leaving her to go on a journey. It is a popular tradition, that if you have drunk from this spring, you cannot remain absent from Rome for ever ; destiny will bring you back. For some this ceremony is a simple form of vow ; praised be they Avho have fidl faith in the presage of the fountain ! The Germans expect to make it favorable by bribery 5 when they have quaffed the philter of return, they throw a half-penny into the basin…”

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