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Paolo Benaglia will shed some light on the long story of the Trevi Fountain. In 1728 he was faced with Monsignor Jacopo Sardini, the dictatorial President of the Aqua Vergine, made him sign a very exacting contract that was signed before a notary. This contract bound him to carry out all of the whims of the president in regards to the construction of the fountain, as well as binding him top payment “in any manner whatever anything he has determined… being obliged and willing to stand by what he fixes, without objection, and so I do promise…”.

Luckily, Sardini was dismissed with the election of the new pontiff, Clement XII in 1730. Also, at this time, the current plans for the fountain were stopped, and new plans were put into the works. This begins the last phase of the Trevi fountain. Bengalia, instead of working on the fountain, was sentenced to only working on the crest of Clement XII, flanked by two angels that are still seen flying high on the fountain.  Clement XII rejected plan after plan for the fountain, but was still determined to create a dignified fountain. Therefore, in 1730 he invited four architects, whose names we d not know. We do know, however, Frenchman Edme Bouchardon presented two sketches even though he was not in the competition. The artist actually sent a letter to the Pope, and perhaps, had he not done that one of his designs would have been chosen. In 1732, another Frenchman, Lambert-Sigisbert Adam the Elder stated he had won the competition.

Even with this statement, the Pope was still unhappy with the models and sketches displayed at his galleries in the palace of Montecavallo. In 1732 he considered another 17 models. This time, things seemed to look up. Valesio, who always had the inside scoop, stated, “Wednesday 6 August 1732. His Beatitude has had many designs created for the ornamentation of the Trevi fountain in addition to those made at other times for wall fountains, and has chosen one of the finest, the one by Vanvitelli, [the architect] who had made another [design] for the façade of St. John Lateran which [also] was said to be among the finest”. At this point you may be exclaiming, “At last!” but no, we’re not there yet. Despite Luigi Vanvitelli’s success, about three weeks later, Valesio provided the following “trailer”: “Tuesday, 16 September 1732. His Beatitude approved the order for 17,000 scudi for the Trevi fountain, and the design chosen is the one by Salvi”.