The other day, on the way to the San Marcuola vaporetto stop, I followed a traveler down the broad rio terà that runs behind the Ghetto. He was outfitted for the day with a medium-sized backpack filled with, oh, who knows, traveler stuff; but on opposite sides of his sparkling-new, expertly-engineered pack were hoisted two 1.5 liter bottles of water, pronte to relieve his thirst at a moment’s notice. They made my packless back hurt just looking at ’em.
I immediately thought of San Francisco’s mayor, Gavin Newsom, who has just declared the city’s independence from bottled water. Lord, leave it to some Californians to be the first to come to their senses and change something, as opposed to seeming to consciously look for ways to generate more mountain ranges of non-degradable waste, while simultaneously funneling money into an industry that has managed to terrify us into believing that something we’ve already paid to purify and that runs freely from the tap is bad for us, so we must instead buy theirs? Am I missing something here?
Sorry…where was I? Oh, yes, fountains.
Of course you’ll get dry-mouthed ambling about the city, but Venice already has a solution for you: quinch your thirst with some of Italy’s best tasting water from any of the fountains that seem to appear magically right about the time you realize, gosh I’m thirsty, I could use a (here, a fountain will materialize suddenly in your line of sight). Many of us city-dwellers bring a bottle with us, then refill it from the fountains as we continue campo to campo. Makes so much sense: Venice fountain water (and tap, for that matter) is not only safe (it arrives from aquifers north of the city), it tastes good. You not contributing to the mass of plastic oceanic waste. And wouldn’t you rather spend those euro on, say, a bottle of nice Lugana, or Prosecco, or Teroldego, that unfortunately for us does not flow from the tap? (I have been accused more than once of having a one-track mind.)
The fountains serve other purposes as well, as this dear Venetian man demonstrated for me, once he got over the fact that I was taking a picture of a completely deserted fountain. Wait, he said, holding out his palm to halt me, I’ll show you what else it does. I waited.