Rome’s historic Trevi Fountain has been breached by a tourist, in yet another incident of anti-social conduct by visitors to Italy.
1. In full view
The woman appeared to want to fill up her water bottle, something which is on the list of behaviours that are strictly forbidden at the 18th century Baroque masterpiece. She did not attempt to hide the action in any way but clambered directly across the fountain’s precious Travertine rock formations and, in full view, held her water bottle under a jet of water, filling it up, before climbing back again.
In the video, taken by fellow tourist Lex Jones and now causing outrage all over the world, a guard then blows a whistle and is seen striding towards the woman and speaking to her, before leading her away. Jones pointed out to Insider that there are signs “all over saying that’s not allowed.” Whether the woman was simply ignorant of the rules or brazen is unclear, as is the legal follow up. Other people present seemed visibly annoyed by her exploits.
@perrinebridge What is this lady thinking?! Video credit to @lex #trevifountain #italy #rome #romeitaly #trevi ♬ original sound – Walmart Jason Statham
2. Not safe
One of the most famous fountains in the world and featured in many books and films, the impressive 26 by 49 metre (85 by 160 foot) monument dates from the middle of the 1700s and marks the spot where the aqueduct that supplied water to ancient Rome from as early as 19BCE terminated.
Its water used to be considered some of the purest in the world, but now is recirculated around the fountain and therefore is not safe for consumption.
3. Pure barbarism
This week’s bottle filler is not the only person to have put her own agenda above the fountain’s preservation. Earlier this year, climate activists from Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) dyed the fountain’s water with charcoal, causing 300,000 litres of water to be wasted as the fountain had to be emptied and resupplied. And last month a person entered the fountain, dived and swam around, that time to applause from onlookers according to Italian news outlets.
Italy has suffered a seemingly disproportionate amount of tourist incivility, which Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Major Events, Sport, Tourism and Fashion representative, has branded “pure barbarism”.
One thing that is permitted at the iconic site is coin tossing. Every year people throw thousands of coins into the fountain in a tradition made famous by the romantic film and academy-award-winning song, “Three Coins in a Fountain”. The coin-tossing is rooted in the Roman practice of throwing a coin into a river or ocean to entreat the gods to grant you safe passage. The money raised (estimated at 3000 euros a day) goes to projects to help Rome’s poor.