Would You Rather: Ireland's Blarney Stone vs. Italy's Trevi Fountain
By Anthony Galasso
If you had to choose, which destination comes out on top and why? It's a toss up, isn't it? Comment your answer below and suggest two more destinations to go head-to-head next time.
Two of the "luckiest" historical sites in the world include Ireland's Blarney Stone and Italy's Trevi Fountain, both of which people continue to flock to every year in seek of good fortune.
Ireland's Blarney Stone
The Blarney Stone — or the Stone of Eloquence — is quite a famous rock built into Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland. Originally set in 1446, legend has it that by kissing the Blarney Stone, one will inherit the gift of gab, or great eloquence, able to charm anyone they come across.
Kissing the Blarney Stone is actually quite tricky. Unbeknownst to many, the stone itself is not easily accessible. In fact, in order to plant a kiss on the ol' Blarney Stone, you'd have to lean backwards 37 feet in the air holding on to iron bars with what is essentially a spotter to make sure you don't fall.
The Blarney Castle standing today is, actually, the third version of the castle built. According to Blarney Castle's official website:
The first building in the tenth century was a wooden structure. Around 1210 A.D. this was replaced by a stone structure which had the entrance some twenty feet above the ground on the north face. This building was demolished for foundations. In 1446 the third castle was built by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster of which the keep still remains standing.
As far as the Blarney Stone itself, its origins are riddled with myths and tall tales. However, according to AuthenticIreland.com:
Some people believe the Blarney Stone is half of the original Stone of Scone upon which the first King of Scots was seated during his coronation in 847. It is said that part of this stone was presented to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314. It was his gift to the Irish for supporting the Scots in the Battle of Bannockburn.
So how about it? Would you rather kiss the Blarney Stone...or move on to Italy's Trevi Fountain?
Italy's Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is an incredibly intricate and popular Baroque water display in Rome's Trevi district and doubles as Rome's oldest source of water, according to WalksOfItaly.com. In fact, the Trevi Fountain, at this point, is a relic as it dates all the way back to ancient Roman times.
It's said that tossing a coin over your left shoulder into the fountain will ensure good luck and a return trip to Rome. How exciting?!
However, this feat is easier said than done as this custom has become one of the world's most popular traditions, drawing crowds of tourists from all over the globe. That said, if you can fight your way to the front of the fountain, the sight alone is worth the hassle. There's a second, more heartwarming reason to take part though. Purportedly, up to 3,000 euro are tossed into the fountain each day, all of which gets donated to the city's poor via a charity called Caritas who helps the needy afford groceries. It's actually illegal to steal the coins from the fountain.
As for the architecture and construction of this popular fountain, WalksOfItaly.com says:
In 1730 Pope Clemens XII held a contest to design a new fountain. Many important architects participated, but in the end Nicola Salvi won the rights to design the fountain, though some theories say he may not have been the first choice. Alessandro Galilei, a architect from the same family as the famous astronomer Galileo, originally won the commission for the project but the commission was ultimately given to Salvi after a public outcry. The reason for the public’s objections? Galilei was a Florentine, while Salvi was a native Roman.
However Salvi never saw his fountain completed. The first water came out of the fountain in 1743 but it wasn’t until 1762 that a different Pope, Clemens XIII, officially completed and inaugurated the new Trevi Fountain, 11 years after Salvi’s death. Still, the final product is largely his.
Which destination would you rather travel to? Tell us in the comments below and feel free to suggest more travel match-ups for us to feature!