The melody was written by Jule Styne, the lyrics by Sammy Cahn. It was written for the romance film, Three Coins in the Fountain and refers to the act of throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome while making a wish. Each of the film's three stars performs this act.
Cahn and Styne were asked to write the song to fit the movie but were unable to either see the film or read the script. They completed the song in an hour and had produced a demonstration record with Frank Sinatra by the following day. The song was subsequently used in the film soundtrack but in the rush Twentieth Century Fox neglected to sign a contract with the composers, allowing them to claim complete rights over the royalties. The song was subsequently recorded by The Four Aces, who had a number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard pop chart chart in 1954, while the Sinatra recording topped the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in September and October that year.
A recording by Dinah Shore with orchestra conducted by Harry Geller was made at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, on March 24, 1954. It was released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-5755 (in USA) and by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalog number B 10730. The flip side of both recordings was "Pakistan".