The incident immediately prompted claims that the state of some of the city’s most famous monuments is at a critical level as it comes after similar ‘falls’ at the Colosseum and the ancient walls encircling Rome.
An area around the Baroque 280-year-old Trevi fountain — where tradition sees tourists throw a coin into the water ensuring their return — was taped off while a fire brigade crane was brought in to help surveyors examine the damage.
Umberto Broccoli, superintendent of Rome’s artistic heritage, dismissed claims of disrepair and instead blamed the fall of the plaster on heavy snow which blanketed the city in February.
He said, “There is absolutely nothing to be worried about. The pieces that fell away from the Trevi Fountain were small decorative pieces of leaf cornicing. In reality it was only only piece actually fell away we took the off other pieces as a safety precaution because they could have fallen away at any time and were therefore a danger but it was just a preventive measure.”
However, opposition city councillors from the Green Party were not convinced and party chief Angelo Bonelli urged Romans to ‘keep their eyes open for other signs of disrepair on the city's monuments’.
The fountain was commissioned by Pope Clement XII and Nicolo Salvi and work began on it in 1732 and it was eventually completed 30 years later.
Rs 3,000 The amount collected in coins by cleaners from the fountain every week
30 The number of years it took to complete the Baroque fountain