We’re inaugurating a new section, Roman Close-up. Here’ we’ll try to show you the story behind some details of the city.
The Trevi Fountain is a baroque explosion of stone, muscles and sea-horses. There are enough details on it to write entire books, but there is a specific part of the sculpture around which a little local legend has been created.
The story goes that during the construction of the fountain an overly critical barber who worked accross the street used to overwhelm Nicola Salvi, the sculptor, with his suggestions and (usually negative) observations about the artist’s work. Understandably annoyed, Salvati proceded then to add to the fountain a vase strategically located to block the view of the fountain from the barbershop to put and end to
the unrequested artisical feedback.
The story doesn’t mention if a vase was enough to deter the artistically overzealous barber (maybe he was more into classicism– I cannot help but wonder how that reflected in his work), but the tale is popular among Romans, who call the vase “l’asso di coppe”, the ace of cups, after a figure in the Italian deck of cards.