02 July 2007

Refreshing water


The Roman Empire is well known for the aqueducts it built all over Europe to supply water to their cities. These generally terminated in their public baths or a fountain supplying water to the masses. The tradition of public fountains is alive and well in Italy and with summer heat this is a welcome reprieve.

Ascoli Piceno has many fonte in the centro storico and you are usually no more than a few minutes walk from one, if you know where to find it. Piazza Arringo has two identical travertine and bronze fountains from 1884 and there are sea horses spouting water that are a favorite drinking location for young and old. On Corsa Mazzini is the fonte dei cani which has two lions spouting fresh water. This fountain is so named as it is low enough that it is a favorite watering hole for dogs. This fountain is on a major road through the centro and in the summer cars stop in front so the drivers can hop out for a quick drink.

There are other smaller but just as utilitarian fonte scattered around town, many just on the side of the street. These are usually cast iron with a faucet and the same style is found all over Italy in towns of every size. Since the water in these fonte comes direct from the cities water system it is as safe as the water in our apartment.

Unfortunately with the drought Italy is experiencing this year the water flow in the public fountains here in Ascoli Piceno has been reduced. For example, of the two fountains in Piazza Arringo only one has flowing water. Hopefully we will get some much needed rain before August.


Marco said...

The small fonte, or fontanella, are called Nasone (big nose) in Rome, and yep they're disappering also because water now is also an economic resource...a pitty.

Bryan said...

Marco - The local water utility, ciip, has been putting up posters for new water restrictions. No sign of rain in the sky is not encouraging.