Quench your thirst at The Big Noses of Rome
Tour of Rome drinking fountains
Elena , our professional guide, wrote this article
If you’re exploring Rome, you’ll have noticed that almost every corner of the city has cast-iron fountains. They provide a continuous stream of drinkable water. The water comes out of a metal tube with a typical curved shape, looking like a nose. For this reason, we call these fountains “nasoni”.
Citizens love them, and in fact, they are perfect for quenching your thirst during the hot Roman summers. These fountains are everywhere. On the ACEA website, the Roman water service provider, there is even a map where you can find the nearest fountain.
As well as being much loved, these public fountains are also part of Rome’s history. When Rome became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1870, the first post-unification mayor Luigi Pianciani decided to provide the city with public fountains. So between 1872 and 1874 about 2500 big noses were installed along the streets and squares of the new capital.
We start our tour of Rome drinking fountains in Piazza della Rotonda, in front of the Pantheon. In fact, here you will find the oldest nasone in town. If you look closely you will notice that the water flows out of three dragon heads – this was the initial shape of the spouts- but they were soon vandalized or stolen, and have given way to the simpler spout shape.
Today they allow millions of Romans and tourists to quench their thirst, free of charge and plastic-free!
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