Potty Over Pozzi

October 23, 2008 / Places
Venice
Here’s a bewitching subject to discover and think about during your next visit to this magical city…

Walk down a quiet calle in Castello, or through a busy piazza in another bustling sestiere, or on the island of Mazzorbo, and one will suddenly appear. People just walked past them or sit on them, seemingly unaware of their history and significance. It is not until you stop a second and it suddenly dawns on you to wonder how in the world this city, located as it is on a brackish water lagoon, could have used these pozzi (wells) for drinking water. Native Venetians worth their salt will be glad to supply the missing information … collection drains in the streets caught the rain water which then filtered through beds of sand into large clay cisterns below, with the well heads up top serving as the neighbourhood’s source of fresh water.

The pozzi in Venice range from very simple to breathtakingly ornate. In the courtyard of the Ducal Palace alone there are not one but two bronze examples. Private homes with one of these treasures in their gardens are the envy of many, and you can’t help but be touched by the tumble-down examples in some ancient church yards.

On your next vist to Venice, stop to admire the number and variety of these relics of the past. And, salute those wonderfully inventive Venetians who solved their water needs in such an intelligent, artistic manner.

– kindly contributed by Yvonne Tabalotny for the Italian Notebook 1st Year Anniversary Readers’ Notes Contest. Thank you Yvonne!

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