How did The Trevi Fountain Start?
A new water aqueduct was inaugurated by Agrippa, the son in law of Emperor Augustus, on June 9th, 19 B.C. The aqueduct begins in the region of the Ager lucullanus, which is half way between Rome and Tivoli. This is in the area between the Via Tiburtina and the Via Collatina, supplying additional water for the fountains and the city.
According to early Roman historians, there are two reasons for naming the aqueduct Vergine. Considered to be the life-blood of water provided by Agrippa, a quote from a 16th century author stated that it was because, “it was a virgin shepherdess who showed the spring to soldiers seeking water”. This scene was actually painted on the pavilion wall located beside the source of the aqueduct. The second reasoning was when an attempt was made to mix a polluted stream with pure water of the Vergine, suggesting, “the water from Herculaneus was put into the aqueduct of the Aqua Vergine... and that was why, like a virgin corrupted by a man, the Aqua Vergine lost its goodness so that there… the male stream of water was miraculously removed from the Aqua Vergine”.
That stream of water was actually placed back into the Vergine during the time of Pope Benedict XIV. At this time it would be hard to say if the display fountain that would lead to the terminal showpiece of the aqueduct was actually known as the Trevi Fountain already. The Vergine aqueduct was carried on arches, some of which actually still existed in the 17th century. These ended right behind the location of the present water fountain. The showpiece was also close to the baths of Agrippa, and few yards between the Pantheon and the church of St. Ignatius.