If you’ve ever visited Rome, you’ve probably heard that the best way to ensure a return visit is by using your right hand to toss a coin over your left shoulder and into the Trevi Fountain. Whether or not you believe in the legend, plenty of people have given it a try—enough that nearly $1.5 million in loose change was dropped into the iconic landmark last year alone.
So just where does all that pocket change go? To charity. "The [city] council hands over to us bags full of coins thrown into the fountain," Alberto Colajacomo, spokesman for Caritas, the nonprofit Catholic organization that receives and reinvests the loot, told NBC News. And it’s more than just coins. "Among the coins often we find other objects, including glasses, religious medals, and even a couple of dentures," Colajacomo said.
Originally opened in 1762, the Trevi Fountain is one of Rome’s most recognizable sites (it has made memorable appearances in movies like Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and William Wyler’s Roman Holiday, too).
Thanks to the fashionable folks at Fendi, it recently underwent a major renovation to restore its facade and add some LED lights and other modern features. It’s also a popular venue for getting arrested; just this week, a man was put into handcuffs for taking a naked dip in the fountain in front of a crowd of amused onlookers. More often, people get into trouble for treating the fountain like their personal piggybank, which is against the law, so you’ll want to refrain from trying to fish your coin back out. Your dentures, however, are another story.
[h/t NBC News]