Thursday, July 21, 2011

Italian wells and fountains

One of the things that becomes apparent in old cities is the pivotal importance of water sources.  Every place we went in Italy had many wells and fountains as central features in their public places. And I'm not talking about the fancy fountains in the famous piazzas in Venice and Rome, but the smaller ones in every little square and towns where people still get water.  When you think about it, the well would have been the meeting place for people in a time when there was no running water in houses.

Here are a few of the water sources I found. 

This one is in Florence, right in the busy part of the city.  Not sure if it was for laundry or for filling water buckets--but it still functions beautifully.

These are from Venice.  Here every little square has a cistern type well, all of them capped now.  But in many places here there are also functional fountains.  Apparently Venice's water now comes from the Alps and is very good for drinking from its many fountains.

Here's the only photo I have of a fountain in Civita, the little town atop a pillar across from our farmhouse.  One of Civita's many cats takes a drink.

Next we go to Rome, and I'm not going to show you the Trevi Fountain or any of the famous ones in the Piazzas because you've probably seen those photos many times before.   But there are smaller fountains everywhere, many of them very beautiful.  Like these two.

But Rome also has many functional fountains like this one in the center of the Campo Fiori fruit and vegetable market, here being used by a young woman to rinse her pan.

And this photo of a well and fountain is from Ostia Antica, the two thousand year old ruin of the harbor city outside of Rome.  The spouts are at the top of the marble column to the right of the photo and more spouts for filling buckets are underneath the lip.

My final photo was taken in Lucca, a lovely town in Tuscany that is still completely surrounded by its Medieval walls and ramparts.  Inside the walls are a number of wells--and you can see that this one still gets a lot of use as a source of drinking water and a meeting place.


  1. it's the colours that are so amazing and memorable when i look at these pictures of fountains joanna. steven

  2. Oh Joanna, this brings back so many lovely memories for me.
    I loved walking down streets in Venice and walking into a square with a fountain, taking a street off of that square an finding another square with a fountain. It was one of the best walking city ever.
    Your photos are so wonderful. I can almost feel the air and sunlight.

    cheers, parsnip

  3. Steven, it must be something about the water that gives the stone those beautiful colours.

    Parnsip, so glad I could bring back lovely memories of Venice for you. I loved those kind of walks when I was there.


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