This post is also available in: Italian

Love for Rome is overwhelming and it grew at school when one of our teachers divided the city into sections and each of us had to investigate a certain area.

We then learned some of the stories that run “parallel” to those in the books and which only residents knew. One such story concerns the “Fontana dell’acquaiolo” (fountain of the water carrier), one of the 6 “talking statues”, one of those that could ‘accept’ (as it still happens) satire notes from the Roman citizenry addressed to the powerful.

This “fountain of the water carrier” that Vanvitelli erroneously attributed to Michelangelo, had been relocated from the main road of Via del Corso to a small street to protect the statue from accidents from impacts of the carriages and the stone throwing of urchins.

Initially this statue is said to have represented one of the workers who used to bring water from fountains to homes, before 1500 when the Popes repaired the aqueducts. But over time the legends have modified the meaning of this history.

In fact, in 1874 this particular statue was moved to Via Lata, a small road that overlooks the way of those who are taking Via del Corso to Piazza del Popolo, near a tavern. Here it became a parody for the hoteliers who “add water” to wine to earn more and more!

So the statue became a representation of something else or someone else in the legends of Love for Rome. In the area it is said that the porter (landlord or hotelier in other versions) is Abbondio Rizzo, a man who was adept at drinking and had enormous strength. Abbondio drank good wine and “reloaded” the contents of the barrel from the fresh water fountain to serve to his guests.

The legend became so well known that at the beginning of 1900 the poet Armando Fefè, who had a great love for Rome, dedicated a satiric and sympathetic sonnet which reads as follows:

This friend that let them ‘called’ porter,
was instead a landlord,
and he robbed his guests,
adding water to wine.
At the end of life he was scared
and said the Almighty:
“Lord if you save me from Hell,
I will replace all the water I sold. “
And, it is now four hundred years and it still flows.

Love for Rome, its wine and its water.


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