Making a wish at the Trevi Fountain is one of those travel clichés that you just have to experience if you’re in Rome. Built in 1762, the Baroque fountain was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and sculpted by his contemporary, Pietro Bracci. When in Rome, you should not only do as Romans do and eat the finest Italian cuisine in the city, but you should also leave a small token behind – literally.
It’s said that in order to properly make a wish, you’re supposed to throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder and into the fountain. While many people simply make a wish, it is also said that throwing a coin in the fountain means you will eventually return to Rome. Throw three coins, and the first will ensure your return while the second and third will mean you will find a new romance and a marriage partner, respectively. The practice is so popular that it is estimated that approximately 3,000 euros are thrown into one of Europe’s most iconic landmarks every day; in 2016, the fountain collected a total of 1.5 million dollars. The money doesn’t just stay there, however, nor does it simply go to the government.
Since 2006, the money thrown in the Trevi Fountain has been donated to a Vatican City-based Catholic charity by the name of Caritas. Caritas puts the money towards a supermarket, called Emporio Caritas, which provides free food for the needy. The supermarket is located in a complex owned by the charity, called Citadella di Santa Giacinta, just a few miles from the center of Rome. The money also helps shelters for migrants, soup kitchens, and other causes. World hunger is a serious issue that needs to be remedied, and if you want to help, you can start right at home with these 60 ways to fight hunger in America.