His team of engineers intervenes three times a week to clean the fountain and twice a month to completely drain the basin and disinfect the water.
System maintenance happens behind the marble scenes that hide the state-of-the-art technology at the heart of the monument: the maneuvering chamber, the old vaulted-ceiling reservoir, level with the basins, that looks out onto the fountain through the two large windows from which originally water would drain out to avoid overflowing. “We often offer guided tours to high school and university students, and in special occasions. I have shown the chamber to engineers, architects, and personalities from all around the world, including heads of state and monarchs.
The maneuvering chamber over the years
A double-tank reservoir supplies water to the fountain and the lines that distribute water to residents
The first electric recycling pumps are installed
The electric pumps are moved into the second tank, level with the fountain
The electric pumps are controlled remotely
Today, as in the past, the maneuvering chamber is divided in two tanks.
“Each tank had a capacity of 400 m3 of water. The water came directly from the Acqua Virgo aqueduct, with a capacity of 500 liters per second, at a 90 angle in relation to the statue of Oceanus. From there, water drained through a slit in the wall from which 220 liters of water dropped first into a large vase, then into 4 amphorae, and finally into the tanks. Today, we allow the same amount of water to flow through the fountain. And we maintain the pressure of the water constant, to avoid overflows or interruptions. The rest works exactly as it did originally, thanks to a water fall system.”
“The maneuvering chamber has always been, and still is, the beating heart of the Trevi Fountain. I like to think of it as the heart but also the brain of the fountain.” says Davide.