Making a Splash – The ‘Richest’ Wishing Wells From Around the World

  • Rome’s iconic Trevi fountain takes in $1m worth of coins each year
  • Disney’s wells in California and Florida get tens of thousands of dollars
  • Kiyomasa’s Well in Tokyo ranks fourth in the list of the richest wells
  • The full list includes Pantheon and Trafalgar Square Fountains
Coin and trevi fountain
Trevi Fountain in Rome is among the richest wishing wells in the world. [Image:]

Ever stood by a glistening fountain, coin in hand, closed your eyes, and made a wish? If you have, you’re part of a timeless tradition that spans cultures and continents. But have you ever paused to wonder where that coin ends up? Or how your little act of hope can make a big difference?

The act of tossing coins into bodies of water dates back centuries. Ancient civilizations believed that water sources were dwelling places for deities. By offering coins, they hoped to appease these gods and earn their favor.

Fast forward to today, and while the reasons might have evolved, the tradition remains alive and well. Thanks to our recent study, we now have a clearer picture of the world’s ‘richest’ wishing wells, and where that cash ends up.

Rome: Where wishes turn to gold

Leading the pack is none other than Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain. With over $1m worth of coins thrown in each year, it’s not just the world’s most famous, but also its richest wishing well. And the best part? Every single coin is collected and donated to charity. So, while your wish might be for personal gain, someone else’s dream is coming true thanks to your donation.

But Rome isn’t done. The city boasts other generous fountains like the Piazza Navona Fountains and the Pantheon Fountain, collecting impressive amounts annually. It seems Romans, and their visitors, are quite the wishful thinkers!

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Disney’s magical wells

Who says fairy tales aren’t real? At Disneyland’s Snow White’s Wishing Well in California and the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Wishing Well in Florida, wishes are turned into charitable donations. While the exact amounts remain a mystery, past figures suggest tens of thousands of dollars have been donated to charity from these magical fountains.

Cinderella’s Wishing Well in Florida

From the East to the West

The tradition isn’t confined to the West. Kiyomasa’s Well in Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu shrine is a testament to that, ranking fourth on the list of the world’s richest wishing wells. And let’s not forget the Luray Caverns Wishing Well in Virginia, Eastern US, which has seen over $1.1m donated to charity since 1957.

Luray Caverns Wishing Well in Virginia

A penny for your thoughts

While some wells overflow with generosity, others, like London’s Trafalgar Square fountains, see a more modest collection. But every coin counts, and even these smaller amounts are put to good use, supporting charities like the RSPCA.

Trafalgar Square Fountain in London

Making wishes come true

As Kayleigh Sacco, Editor-in-Chief here at VegasSlotsOnline, aptly puts it: “It’s fascinating to see how these small acts of hope and superstition can accumulate to make a significant difference for charities.“ So, the next time you’re by a fountain, remember: your coin might just be the one that makes a wish come true.

The top 10 richest wishing wells:

RankWishing WellAnnual amount (rounded to the nearest ‘000)
1Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy858,0001.1 million1 million
2Piazza Navona Fountains, Rome, Italy172,000221,000200,000
3Pantheon Fountain, Rome, Italy129,000165,000150,000
4Kiyomasa’s Well, Meiji Jingu, Tokyo, Japan98,000126,000114,000
5Luray Caverns Wishing Well, Virginia, USA27,000 – 35,00035,000 – 45,00032,000 – 41,000
6Fountain in La Rotonda Square – Panama City, Panama22,00028,00025,000
7Disney Wishing Wells, California and Florida, USA15,00019,00017,000
8The ‘Mouth of Truth’ Fountain (Bocca della Verità) – Rome, Italy15,00019,00017,000
9Madame Pele’s Wishing Well at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden – Hawaii, USA12,00016,00015,000
10Trafalgar Square Fountains, London, England1,2001,5001,400

Not all fountains welcome your coins

While the tradition of tossing coins into fountains is widespread, it’s essential to note that not all fountains are wishing wells. Some historical or ecologically sensitive sites actively discourage visitors from throwing coins or any other items into the water. Why? Well, beyond the obvious littering aspect, coins can cause damage to the fountain’s infrastructure, harm aquatic life, and even lead to water pollution.

Take, for instance, the fountains of Trafalgar Square in London. These fountains are a listed heritage feature, and the local authority does not encourage visitors to place coins or any other items in the fountain bowls. A significant amount of coins thrown in get damaged and are unsalvageable, leading to more waste than wishes.

So, the next time you’re tempted to make a wish at a fountain, take a moment to check if it’s a designated wishing well or if there are signs asking visitors to refrain from tossing coins. After all, we want our wishes to bring joy, not harm.

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