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Rome’s Trevi Fountain Holds Nearly $1.5 Million in Loose Change

Image: Trevi fountain coins collected by a worker in Rome
An employee collects coins thrown in the Trevi fountain in Rome on Nov. 25, 2015. Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images file

ROME — The legend goes that if you throw a coin backwards into the Trevi fountain, using your right arm over your left shoulder, you will return to the city.

A lot of visitors to Rome are clearly buying into the story, with an Italian charity confirming that nearly $1.5 million dollars in change was thrown into the fountain during 2016.

"The [city] council hands over to us bags full of coins thrown into the fountain," said Alberto Colajacomo, spokesman for Caritas, the Catholic non-profit that receives all coins — and other items — thrown into the water. It reinvests the proceeds into charitable initiatives.

Rome's Trevi Fountain Collects $1.5 Million in Coins for Charity 1:27

"Among the coins often we find other objects, including glasses, religious medals and even a couple of dentures," Colajacomo told NBC News.

Originally completed in 1762, the fountain was recently given a major 18-month makeover, financed by the Fendi fashion brand, that added LED lighting and allowed restoration of the marble facade.

Fishing for change in the fountain is illegal, and arrests by Italian police are common.

Image: Fontana di Trevi
The rococo fountain is more than 80 feet tall. Rainer Binder / Ullstein Bild via Getty Images