Well, well, well

Being just a tad one-eyed about the charms of Venice, I tend to think it must be the only place in the world with pozzi (wells), such as this one found in a busy campo in that city.

The wells supplied fresh water  (*) to the local communities that surrounded campi (squares) until water was piped in from the mainland late in the 1800s.


I had to grudgingly modify my thinking when I began to notice them in many cities/towns in Italy.

Here’s one I saw when I was in Schio with one of the pesky tourists. (Schio is a town in the province of Vicenza .) I liked the doggy handles on the cover.


(*) These wells were very clever. Rainwater was caught in the campi, filtered through sand and stored in clay lined cisterns. Water was a precious commodity, the wells were closely regulated, with the lids being unlocked only twice a day.


So, when you’re in Italy, get out there and find some pozzi, please.



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41 responses to “Well, well, well

  1. Yvonne, after looking at your great illustration and thinking about it a bit, I can’t believe that some of these wells aren’t brackish. I wonder what they did to prevent salty seawater from leaching in? ~James

    Liked by 1 person

    • Darned if I know, but there would have been a wall of sand around the clay, also. I had a bore dug on a property where I lived, not far from the ocean. The soil was pretty well pure sand, and that water tested A-OK for drinking.


  2. Awesome. I never could not imagine such a thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am going to have to look through our photos and see if some of these were captured and us not knowing what they were. Perhaps another trip is in order for research purposes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bert

    Just look at that illustration and remember that the hole was dug by men with shovels! The hole was lined with clay to prevent the salty lagoon-water contaminating the water in the well, but how difficult must it have been to be digging the hole below sea-level before it could be lined with clay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great observation, Bert. And, there would have been hundreds of these precious wells dug on the many islands that made up Venice.

      I liked the fact that the illustration also showed some of the method used to create Venice: the logs pounded into the soil of the lagoon, with the foundations of the city built upon this underground forest.


  5. I never knew about the rainwater-catching system… thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oooh I love the illustration. It shows the whole thing nicely. If I get back to Italy, I will look for these.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very cool post. And we take water so for granted here in Canada. We need to be much more aware and not waste.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I never knew any of that! Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I know what you mean, still it’s funny to read in a post about Venice “water is a precious commodity”…..
    ….and who else but the Italians would take the bother to make the well-cover handles in the shape of doggies?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, they take a utilitarian object and make it a work of art.There’s one wellhead cover in Venice that is so exquisitely designed. I’ll try to remember to take a photo of it and show you.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It was you who first drew my attention to these….years ago. Just like that other invention that has to do with “waterworks” I always think of you when I see one.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Susie L

    They are all so beautiful, unique works of art!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bert

    Look carefully in Piazza San Marco to find the site of a well filled in in the 17th century [interrato nel secolo XVII].

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a clever way to get fresh water, filtered too. I bet it tastes sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks to recall this . Wre should go many timestoVenice to have amore complete perception.
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Being a person who likes to know how things are done I was really interested in the filtering through sand and the unlocking only twice a day. A propo of nothing there is a way Australians talk by shortening words and making slang. For example; if the kids at school are lined up for lunch at the tuck shop and one of them forgets her money she will run back to her locker to get it. But first she will say to the girl (or boy) behind her, “Just gotta get me money. Save me possi will ya!” (For those of you with limited bilingual ability that translates as “Save my position in the queue” . And in almost every case I have seen in forty years of teaching she will come back and be let back in the line where she was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The honour system works, John.

      I had puzzled for quite a while about how in heck the Venetians got their fresh water, given that they’re sitting in salty water. It was a big “Aha!!” moment when someone educated me.

      It’s nice to hear from you, John.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. There are many famous Pozzi around Italy in the Piazze or nearby.

    Liked by 1 person

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