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Electronic Devices to Keep Pigeons Off Cleaned Italian Fountain

November 27, 1990

ROME (AP) _ Toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain and, if you believe the myth, you’ll come back to Rome some day. But if you’re a pigeon, you might not want to return to the Baroque monument.

A low-voltage electronic field to repel pigeons has been installed at the fountain, following a two-year, $2.8-million scrubbing project, city art officials said Tuesday.

The wires don’t harm the birds, but emit enough current to discourage them from setting on the fountain. A similar system has been used successfully for several years on Milan’s spire-topped cathedral to keep birds’ excrement from collecting.

According to Rome’s superintendency of art and antiquities, restoration of the fountain will be completed in early 1991. Trevi receives its water via the same aqueduct that supplied Roman baths in the days of the emperors, but that water is heavy in calcium, which forms crusty deposits on the monuments. Restorers are now working out a treatment system to reduce the deposits.

The fountain, dominated by a giant figure of the sea god Neptune on a winged chariot, has been a backdrop in many films, including ″La Dolce Vita.″

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