Nasone is the street name, fontanella is the “formal” name.
This is the name of the public fountains made of cast iron that are spread all over the city, from downtown to the perimeter of the city. The name comes from the shape of the tap that looks like a big nose.
The water that runs from the nasone is the same water that runs in the homes of the romans. So it’s absolutely drinkable and always cold because the water flows non-stop. The supplier is Acea, public energy company that makes 250 thousand controls on the water every year.
Are you walking around the city and you’re thirsty? Take a look around: sooner or later you will see a nasone. There are about 2500 nasoni (plural of nasone) in the city, 200 in the historical downtown that also features about 90 artistic fountains (the most famous are the Barcaccia at Piazza di Spagna and the small fountain built in the wall in via della Fontanella Borghese).
If you have a cup or a bottle you can fill them up no problem. Otherwise, cover the tap with your finger and let the water spring from the small hole on the near top of the tap and drink comfortably.
The oldest fountains in 1874 had three dragon-shape pipes. Nowadays they only have a smooth one. But you can still find the old-school ones with three taps in Via della Cordonata, not far from the Quirinale, or in Piazza della Rotonda, only a couple of meters away from the more famous fountain of Pantheon.
There’s even a recostruction of the first three-tap nasoni in via delle Tre Cannelle, near Foro Traiano
Lately going nasone-hunting has become just as trendy as hunting Pokemon Go. So Acea has posted an interactive map for its users: just punch in the address of where you are and you will find the closest Nasone to your position.
A pdf map of the nasoni is available made by the department of italianistica of the University of Parma.
The reproduction of this content is authorized only upon including link to Romabbella website.
Alessia Tordi e Daniele Barbera