Trevi Fountain: A Masonry Marvel

What if we were in Rome? (Maybe you are!) We’d saunter over to Trevi Fountain seeking skin-cooling relief at its water’s edge. Surely this architectural beauty would additionally radiate spiritual solace and admiration of a bygone era.

Daytime View of Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain (Credit: Verch, Marco)

Trevi’s timeline began in 19 BC when a spring fed by an aqueduct became a Roman bath. Between 1629 and 1762 different architects under the guise of different popes fortified and enhanced the structure in the popular piazza we see today. (Yes, it’s the coin-throw fountain.) The latest 2015 restoration with improvements (e.g., LED lighting) was financed by the Fendi fashion house. I find their masonry facts compelling:

3,900 square meters restored travertine [limestone] and marble…
340 square meters of restored stucco
320 square meters of restored basin
100 square meters of restored plaster
80 square meters of restored bricks…
26 restorers
” (Reddinger).

For non-metric folks, picture 340 square meters being just under half the width and a quarter the length of an American football field.

If you’re wondering why I made this comparison, wade through (or skip) these equations:

1 meter = 3.281 feet
square = area of length by width
1 square meter = 10.76 square feet (3.281 X 3.281)
LET’S EXEMPLIFY WITH THAT 340 METERS OF RESTORED STUCCO:
340 square meters = 3,658.4 square feet (340 x 10.76)
3,658.4 rounded to 3,600 = 60 feet by 60 feet
3 feet = 1 yard
60 feet x 60 feet = 20 yards x 20 yards
53.3 yards wide x 100 yards long = 1 US football field
approximately less than 1/2 width x 1/4 length of a football field = 340 square meters

Sorry if my minor calculating seems confusing, but can you imagine actually tackling major monument-building back in BC! What’s much more interesting (than my math) is a video lesson in Chapter 4 of an online course entitled: “Roman Engineering and Architecture.”

In closing, I’ll share that yesterday on Facebook we briefly melded the same medley — summer heat, Roman history, and masonry buildings. I wanted to expound here especially, BECAUSE it’s 103 degrees Fahrenheit outside AND wouldn’t it be DIVINE plunging a toe or two into TREVI right this moment?!

Works Cited

Reddinger, Paige. “Fendi Unveils Their Restoration of the Trevi Fountain in Rome.” The Daily Front Row. Nov. 3, 2015, fashionweekdaily.com/fendi-unveils-their-restoration-of-the-trevi-fountain-in-rome/.

Verch, Marco . Trevi-Brunnen [Image attribution]. Jan. 10, 2016. CC BY 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, Wikimedia Commons.