Twelve ancient fountains were restored in the Pompeii ruins thanks to the Great Pompeii Project: eight of them were prepared for water supply. They were encrusted with calcareous material, mosses and lichens mixed with terrain that covered the friezes 2,000 years ago subtracting from the original beauty: now, some of the fountains of ancient Pompeii have been restored and the work of cleaning, performed by the Opificio Pietre Dure of Florence (an institute of the Italian Ministry of Culture), returned the monumental value of the "totem" of drinking water present in the excavations. Among these, there is the white fountain of the goddess Concordia: it represents the face of a woman with big eyes, with earrings at her lobes, a soft robe and a cornucopia for which was mistaken for the Goddess of Abundance. Due to this misconception, the first archaeologists gave the name “Via dell’Abbondanza” (Street of the Abundance) to one of the main streets of the ancient city of Pompeii.
There are 40 fountains scattered around in the streets of the ruins of Pompeii, dispensers of free water to the tourists, but also - for decades - put at risk their conservation.
One of the Superintendence’s project has finally started the restructuring and rationalization. "This first operation carried out to the fountains with the funds of the Great Pompeii Project, concerned at the time the fountains along the route "Pompeii for all" only - explains the general director of the excavations, Massimo Osanna - thanks to the experience and expertise of the “Opificio delle Pietre Dure”, which we have used for the works of cleaning and consolidation, with a result of great excellence that has given splendor to an important part of urban ancient Pompeii. It is important what they did both for the history of water supply in the ancient town and their aesthetic value". The project had a cost of about 150,000 euros, and will be followed by another one concerning the remaining fountains, who will be paid by ordinary funds.
The fountains of ancient Pompeii are mostly in blocks of lava stone, and dark gray. The oldest are in gray tuff. "They are all beautiful for the emotions they give, because they still show signs of workmanship of the artisans that have shaped them and the wear suffered by the inhabitants of Pompeii before the eruption of 79 AD." says Alberta Martellone, one of the archaeologists who participated on the restoration project. The water system is connected to the one of the new city of Pompeii and it was already active in the '30s. Indeed, there is an image of the Istituto Luce (an institute created during the Fascist era involved in the production and distribution of films and documentaries intended for being screened in cinemas) that depicts the fountain of the crossroads of the Holconi with Pablo Picasso visiting to the ruins, accompanied by Jean Cocteau. "Some dispensers were cemented and the salts of the concrete infiltrated the stone blocks with the risk of splitting them" explains architect Gianluca Vitagliano, director of works. The protective treatment for stone materials will prevent a further deterioration.
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Staff at Flashback Journey to Pompeii. Our goal is to bring you up-to-date information on events, continuing archeological excavations and more on Pompeii.