Water, water everywhere…

fontana . . . and not only can you drink it, it’s quite tasty, actually.

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.

fontana2 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.



5 thoughts on “Water, water everywhere…

  1. John Clarke

    I never even noticed fountains in Venice, but I’ll take your word that they are safe and remember them for my next visit. On my last visit my hostel room-mate got laid low for three days due -we suspected – to ‘something in the water’. ( I was staying at the Astoria in Calle Fiubera ).I thought I was immune and left Venice with a smile, but by the time I arrived in Rome the same thing had hit me. My insides trying to become my outsides by every available exit – not nice.

  2. nan

    There’s probably potential for upsets (innards and otherwise) in almost any change of environment, but I’d be surprised if in Venice it was ever due to anything about the water.

    I had a friend who visited here with her Mom, and they had lunch at a well-renowned restaurant. After the Mom ended up being laid low, while the daughter had no ill effects whatsoever. Might’ve happened anywhere, I suppose.

    A friend just told be that they’re thinking of altering the fountains so that they don’t run non-stop, but instead function like any other water fountain that uses a handle and valve. It’s nice to have water running as you wander past, but doesn’t make much sense, now that inhabitants aren’t as plentiful and don’t use them as frequently as they once did.

  3. John Clarke

    I put my problem down to the water because my roomie and I – so far as I know – hadn’t eaten at any of the same places. But it was a one off, and the only time I’ve ever been ill abroad.

    The handle and valve idea sounds sensible – but the fountains will have to be clearly marked as ‘in use’ or tourists might think they are defunct relics.

  4. Christine

    I love love love your website – bookmarked it! I lived in Rome for a few years, now in the South of France, and *thought* I wanted to go back to Rome with boyfriend in tow – but we recently decided that we should just take the plunge and start planning for Venice. Although it’s my fave place on earth and I know it well, I’ve just started doing all my research. Wish me luck!

    You know what struck us as the most awesome thing? The idea that we’ll move into whatever place we find…BY BOAT. That pretty much clinched it.

    Anyway, I am rambling, but I am happy to find your blog and will read it with rapt attention. Ciao!


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