Life & Leisure

No stopping Rome’s nasoni fountains despite worst drought in decades

Rome, Aug 19 (EFE).- As Italy faces its worst drought in decades, the ancient capital’s fountains continue to offer fresh drinking water to thirsty tourists and locals.

Traditional “nasoni,” cast iron fountains with a curved tap that expel a constant trickle of water, were first introduced in Rome in 1874 by Luigi Pianciani, the first mayor following the unification of Italy.

From the initial 20 that were installed now around 2,800 are scattered across the province.


The fountains have only ever been turned off once, in 2017, following a decision by Italian environment minister Gian Luca Galletti.

Protests ensured the fountains were never turned off again.

Studies have since discovered that the fountains represent only 1% of water waste in Rome, compared to 50% from leaky pipes.

Nasoni have a key role in ensuring an adequate pressure in the city’s water supply network.

The Red Cross has also warned that the shuttering of fountains “denies access (to water) to some 10,000 poor people who live in the city” and who use nasoni to drink, cook and wash.


But nasoni aren’t just thirst-quenching fountains; they are also a key tourist attraction with 200 cast iron fountains and 90 artistic fountains peppered among Rome’s historic monuments and archaeological sites.

To drink like a true Roman, most nasoni have a hole at the top of the spout, so citizens can block the bottom hole and force the water upwards through the opening on the top.

Tourists can scout the nearest fresh water fountain using the Waidy Wow app, an initiative that aims to reduce plastic waste.

Curious visitors can find out more about some of these architectural gems, such as the baroque Barcaccia fountain at the foot of the Spanish steps or the fountain of the bees in Piazza Barberini, by scanning QR codes that reveal the history of the fountains.EFE


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