The Nasoni (“Longnoses”) is the name the Romans have given the small water fountains that can by found in almost every street in the center of Rome and that always, even in mid-summer, used to supply perfectly cool drinking water. After the drought that hit Rome in the summer of 2017, it was however necessary to turn many of them off.
History and description
It could well be that Rome is the only city of its size in the entire world that provides its citizens (and tourists) with a free amenity of this kind. Unlike the other fountains in the city, whose function is mainly decorative, the purpose of the “longnoses” is solely a practical one.
The total number of these Roman fountains is around two thousand. They are about 1,20 meters tall and weigh 100 kilos.
The majority is made of cast iron, but there are also several that are made of travertine marble. The latter were mostly constructed in the 1930’s and 1940’s and used to be called “little fountains of the imperial wolf”, since the water used to come from a wolf’s mouth. Around 70 of these fontanelle still exist and can mostly be found in Rome’s public parks. Most of the wolves as well as the tubs that collected the water have disappeared or were damaged by vandals.