The $ 1.7 million worth of coins thrown away by tourists each year and then released from the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome sparked a brief battle between the city and the Catholic Church.
Last month, the city council decided that the coins collected in the famous monument would be used to help the ruined infrastructure of the city, thus ending the controversy of 18 years of practice of giving money to an organization local Catholic charity.
"The gift from the Trevi Fountain in Rome is a shower of coins that creates a sea of good," said Reverend Benoni Ambarus, director of this charity, called Caritas, in the Italian newspaper Avvenire the Saturday. "I refused to think about closing services for the poor. I still hope that confidence in Caritas will be reconfirmed, that we will be able to find a way that combines the reasonableness, solidarity and joy of the draw, in order to maintain this network of help in life. "
The decision, which would have taken effect on April 1 and had been touted by the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, has reduced by about 15% the annual expenses of the charity that serve to fund soups. popular, social assistance programs and a shelter for homeless, among other activities, he said.
However, on Monday, after several days of retaliation from the church, charity and its supporters, Raggi reversed his course.
She told the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romanoit was a misunderstanding and Caritas would continue to receive money from the Trevi Fountain and would also receive coins thrown into the historic waters of the city.
"No one has ever thought of depriving Caritas of these funds," she told the newspaper on Monday. "The diocesan agency plays an important role for many poor and for the city of Rome, which wishes to continue to be the home capital of the weakest."
Instead, she added, the city must ensure a precise count of the money. Instead of asking Caritas volunteers to sort and count the coins, she will hand over the city department responsible for cleaning and maintaining the famous fountain.
She said it would bring "order and transparency" to the process.
"Now, however, tourists and citizens will finally know how much is collected and for whom it is intended. And Caritas will also be able to plan its charity activities more easily, "said Raggi.
This is not the first time Raggi has been trying to use the fountain funds for the city. In 2017, she touted a plan similar to the cash – strapped city, but this one was suspended as a result of many criticisms.
The idea of recovering the coins from the iconic fountain and donating them to Caritas dates back to 2001.
The Trevi Fountain, commissioned by Pope Clement X11 in 1732, is visited every year by millions of tourists. The tradition of throwing coins has been popularized with Frank Sinatra's romantic comedy "The Three Pieces of the Fountain", dating from 1954.