Tradition dictates that tourists should toss a coin into the Baroque fountain, where Anita Ekberg famously cavorted in a strapless black dress in the 1960 Fellini classic 'La Dolce Vita', to ensure that they return to the city. The custom appears to have weathered the global financial crisis – a record 540,000 euros' (£420,000) worth of small change has been dredged out of the fountain so far this year. Rome's authorities say the increase is partly down to the fact that they have cracked down on the thieves who use to gather up the coins in pre-dawn raids, wading into the knee-deep water with rakes and buckets. Financial Year When one illegal coin collector was confronted by an Italian film crew last year, he exploded in rage and shoved the reporter into the fountain. Budget DeficitBut the record number of coins also suggests that visitors to the capital still have cash to spare to honour a tradition that was popularised by films like Three Coins in a Fountain, made in 1954 and featuring three American women looking for romance in the Eternal City. The figures were released by Caritas, the Catholic charity which collects the coins and uses the money to buy food for the homeless. In the first six months of the year, with the summer tourist season barely underway, 540,000 worth of coins were recovered from the fountain, weighing more than 17,000kg. If the trend continues, more than a million euros will have been fished out of the popular tourist attraction by Christmas. That compares with 838,000 euros recovered in 2010 and 951,000 euros in 2011.