Several decorative pieces have fallen off the Trevi Fountain in Rome, raising the alarm that one of the eternal city’s most famous structures needs a new major restoration. Stone laurel leaves fell from the top frieze of the fountain, which marks the terminal point of one of the aqueducts that brought drinking water to ancient Rome.
Umberto Broccoli, Rome’s cultural superintendent, said the damage was “not worrying” and that the detachment was probably due to water infiltration caused by heavy snowfall that hit Rome in February.
Dino Gasperini, Rome city counselor for culture, asked for funds to protect the fountain from any more possible imminent damage and said another full-scale restoration was needed. The last major restoration of the fountain, whose current form was completed in 1762, was 20 years ago.
“We think what is happening at the Trevi Fountain is very grave,” said the Italian Greens Party leader Angelo Bonelli.
Bonelli said concern for the fountain was even greater because earlier this year a few small pieces fell off of the Colosseum, which is now being restored. Tourists viewing the fountain on Monday expressed concern and said Italy had to protect its cultural heritage.
“Heritage should not be just a cost, it should also be a resource. For example, that bar should pay something more given that it has the privilege to be located in front of the Trevi Fountain, which is one of the world’s greatest wonders,” said Italian tourist Daniele Masta.
A Roman tradition says tourists who throw a coin in the fountain are guaranteed that they will someday return.