TREVI FOUNTAIN, ROME or 'Show me the money'
Probably the most famous fountain in the world, who has visited Rome and not stood by the Trevi Fountain to throw in a coin for good fortune? No Hands??!?!
According to local tradition, if you throw one coin into the fountain you will return to Rome; two means a new romance, and three coins will surely lead to marriage.
So, it is no surprise that around £2700 coins a day are tossed into the water – yep, over a cool £1 million every year. But where does all that money go? Who collects it? And who's counting?
For years, officials claimed that since its completion in 1762 all the money collected has been donated to a Catholic charity for distribution to Rome's poor and orphans.
This claim was held as true until 2002 when hidden cameras were mounted to see who was really collecting the money every night.
To the astonishment of Rome's police, mayor and the world at large, one scruffy looking individual arrived just before dawn to rake in a small fortune for his own personal welfare. Needless to say, this created a huge outrage among the Romans, Italians and the Mayor who immediately commissioned a full investigation.
It turned out that Roberto Cercelletta, who became a local anti-hero everyone called D'Artagnan, had been surreptitiously scooping up the coins with a long, sword-like magnet since 1968!
''I wasn't really collecting all that much,'' Cercelletta told police after his arrest.
And, after all, he was working hard for his pennies – taking him all of 15 minutes to complete the job!
Cercelletta, having made headlines in 2002 for raiding the fountain for 34 years, died in December 2013 aged 62.
Today its true romantic charm has returned to the newly renovated Trevi Fountain, funded by the Roman fashion house Fendi.
Now more than ever the huge sparkling white marble fountain – towering 86 feet high and sprawling 163 feet wide and dominated by the figure of Oceanus the Titan god of the sea – fully justifies its worldwide reputation as it sparkles under the daylight sun, the nighttime moon, or the more than 100 LED lights that ensure its illumination.
Don’t forget to throw in a coin next time you visit, to ensure your return to the Eternal City. Or three! It worked for Anita Ekberk in the 1960 classic film La Dolce Vita, & one coin each trip has certainly worked for me!