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Cash-strapped Rome Starts Claiming Trevi Fountain Coins

  • Agence France-Presse

FILE - Trevi Fountain is lit after its restoration in Rome, Nov. 3, 2015.

A sign of the times in Rome: The city's cash-strapped administration is eyeing the coins tossed by tourists into the celebrated Trevi Fountain.

Previously swept up and handed over to Catholic charity Caritas, the coins, which can add up to as much as a million euros a year, will now be claimed by Mayor Virginia Raggi for projects to be decided by a city hall working group, according to local media reports Friday.

Legend has it that anyone who lobs a piece of change into the nearly 300-year-old fountain while facing away from the Baroque masterpiece is guaranteed to return to the Eternal City.

The tradition is as strong as ever following the landmark's restoration two years ago, and thousands flock there almost every day to see where Anita Ekberg took her famous dip in Federico Fellini's 1960 film La Dolce Vita.

Collecting coins is not the council's only revenue stream from Rome's fountains: This summer, Raggi introduced on-the-spot fines for anyone tempted to emulate Ekberg by cooling off in the municipal waters.