The Eternal City that is Rome is going through somewhat of a budgetary crisis at the moment, and with cash in short supply, officials are now even eyeing up the city’s iconic Trevi Fountain.
Every year, millions of tourists flock to the former seat of empire to view the city’s many sites. A good deal of these toss coins into the near 300-year-old fountain, the haul of which reportedly hit $1.5 million in 2016 alone, chump change compared to the city’s estimated €12 billion ($14 billion) debt.
It’s believed that anyone who turns their back on the baroque masterpiece and tosses a coin into the fountain is destined to return. The cash is usually scooped up and given to Catholic charity Caritas, but not from April 2018, if Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi has her way.
Harvesting coins at Trevi Fountain. Tourist coin toss, right hand over left shoulder (means you’ll be back) = $1.5+ mill to charities yrly pic.twitter.com/qUWyH7KS9v
— Megan Williams (@MKWilliamsRome) June 12, 2017
It’s understood that it’s not only the Trevi Fountain that is being targeted but all of the city’s monumental fountains. Raggi has reportedly earmarked the coveted cash for projects yet to be decided on by city hall, although il Giornale reports that some of the money will be redirected to “social welfare projects.”
READ MORE: Pope shuts off Vatican fountains for first time in living memory as Rome hit with drought
The city’s debt essentially consists of financial and commercial debt, with other types affecting the figure to a lesser extent. Basically, and perhaps unsurprisingly, more than half of the debt is in the hands of banks, whereas private debt makes up just over a quarter of the €12 billion.
It’s unclear how tourists will feel about the city pilfering the fountain, where Swedish beauty Anita Ekberg took her infamous dip in Federico Fellini’s classic film ‘La Dolce Vita’.