Cash-strapped Rome authorities considering claiming coins lobbed into Trevi Fountain

David Millward
A worker collecting coins in the Trevi Fountain in Rome, as part of a regular monthly cleaning routine.  - AFP

Facing debts of more than €13.6 billion (£12 billion), the city of Rome is reported to be considering pocketing the coins lobbed into the Trevi Fountain.

Traditionally the money thrown into the 300-year-old, estimated at around €1 million a year has gone to Caritas, a Catholic charity.

But reports in Rome media suggest that Virginia Raggi, the city's mayor is toying with using the cash to for worthy projects decided by a city council working party, the Local reported.

According to tradition, throwing one coin in the fountain means that you will return to Rome; two suggests a new romance and three will lead to marriage.

The baroque masterpiece, designed by Nicola Salvi and Guiseppe Pannini, was completed in 1762.

Bathers in the Trevi fountain

For centuries it has been a magnet for visitors especially since Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni swam in the fountain in Fellini's 1960 masterpiece, La Dolce Vita.

In July last year 64-year-old British woman, Delilah Jay, was fined €450 for taking a dip in the fountain. She was just one of a number of Trevi bathers who have annoyed the authorities over the years.

Having already imposed on the spot fines for anyone swimming in the fountain, the city authorities have also banned tourists from stopping there at all - apart from a few moments to take a quick selfie or throw some coins over their shoulder.

Under plans announced in May, tourists were told they would have to follow a one-way route around the fountain.