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The Trevi Fountain Incident – This Tourist Took It Too Far

By Orgesta Tolaj


17 August 2023

trevi fountain

© Michele Bitetto / Unsplash

A new viral video that is taking the internet by storm, shows a tourist walking up to Trevi Fountain in Rome to… fill up her water bottle?

The video, which is now being referred to as “The Trevi Fountain Incident,” has been followed up by tons of commenters who are confused by the entire situation. The opinions are quite divided as well. Some of them are shocked that a person would do this, while others believe this is not as big of a deal as others are making it to be. Let’s dive into the story together (no pun intended)!

The Trevi Fountain Incident

The story goes like this: A woman was captured on camera as she climbed into Rome’s Trevi Fountain to fill her water bottle. The incident, which occurred on July 18 and was filmed by an observer named Lex Jones, was shared by the news agency Storyful.

The footage shows the woman climbing over a line of rocks to access the center of the fountain. There, she proceeds to fill her water bottle using one of the fountain’s spouts. However, her actions are interrupted when a guard blows a whistle and approaches her. After a conversation between the guard and the tourist, the guard escorts the individual away from the scene.

According to Jones, there were plenty of displayed signs that showed that such behavior was prohibited. Despite this, the tourist appeared to lack an understanding of her wrongdoing and failed to clarify her actions to the guard.

As of now, it remains unclear whether the tourist faced any penalties or legal consequences for her actions.

Why Would She Do this?

While the exact intentions of the tourist remain unknown, one possibility is that she aimed to sample the water that directly flows from the Aqua Virgo, a historic water source dating back to ancient Rome. The passage that supplies the Trevi Fountain, was constructed in 19 BC and remains the sole ancient passage still operational in modern times. It is also the sole passage that enters Rome from the northern direction. The fountain, however, was not built until 1762.

The Water Passage

Engineering Rome explains, “Aqua Virgo was remarkably effective in providing potable water to the areas in need, serving the baths of Agrippa and the Campus Martius area.” The authors emphasize that despite undergoing various restorations over the centuries, the aqueduct system continues to channel the original spring water from the Salone area, preserving its historical connection.

While the aqueduct originally served as a conduit for clean water, its current purpose significantly differs. Rome Experience reports that the fountain generates approximately 80,000 cubic meters of water daily. However, they caution that this water is recycled and purely ornamental, advising against any temptation to consume it.

Not the First Incident

Italy is no stranger to being home to a variety of tourist mishaps. Just a few weeks earlier, a tourist angered local authorities by taking a swim in the Trevi Fountain on July 28, wearing a blue T-shirt and shorts, as reported by the Italian daily Corriere Della Serra.

Surprisingly, however, witnesses clapped and approved of his actions. So the situation had a different reaction from the Trevi Fountain incident.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Councilor for Major Events, Sport, Tourism, and Fashion, labeled the incident as “sheer barbarism” highlighting how fines and appeals to common sense have become insufficient to maintain control over tourists’ behavior.

He had previously asked the Italian Ministries of Culture and the Interior to provide assistance to the city in enforcing the regulations that prohibit drinking and bathing in historic fountains. These regulations were officially enacted in 2018.

Well, this was a rollercoaster ride. You never know what you will see on your next trip to Italy. In any case, make sure to have your water bottles filled before you visit the Trevi Fountain. We would not want to see your name on the news next!

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!