Loquis: Rome's Nasoni Fountains

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Rome's Nasoni Fountains


Published on:  2018-03-09 10:26:00


In Rome there is never any danger of dying of thirst, even in the hottest months. No other city in the world can boast more than 2,000 public fountains supplying excellent cool drinking water.. We are talking about the so-called "Mayor's water" (as the Romans call the water that comes out of their taps) and the celebrated drinking fountains known in popular tradition as "Nasoni" - or big noses - because of their characteristic shape. Nasoni are little fountains that could be defined as "democratic", because they are found in residential areas and suburbs as well as the historic city centre. They are made of cast iron and stand about 1 metre tall, with a distinctive spout supplying a continuous stream of potable water; at the centre of the spout is a hole from which one can drink when the outlet is blocked with the hand to produce a jet of water. On the very hottest days it is a real pleasure to drink the water of Rome's little fountains or fill one's bottle or canteen; it's free, delicious and cool because it is running continuously. The most fascinating and unusual Nasone can be found in Via della Cordonata: this one has three spouts gushing water, while the more common traditional version has only one. Some of these fountains were the arrival point of the aqueducts that have supplied the city since Roman times: the Trevi Fountain, for example, was the terminal for the AcquaVergine aqueduct, while the Moses Fountain, otherwise known as the Acqua Felice, was the end point of the Felice aqueduct. None of the water that pours out of Roman fountains is wasted or lost; most of it is conveyed to enormous reservoirs and used for watering Rome's many parks and gardens or, in the case of the monumental fountains, it is mostly recycled.

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