A history of the water sources

Providing good quality water has always been one of the pre-requisites of any settlement. In past centuries, before the construction of today’s mains supply, the local population would get water for drinking, cooking and other needs from cisterns, or from local springs which were channelled into collecting basins – these last often richly adorned architecturally. Local authorities dedicated particular attention to such works. For many generations the population of Suvereto met its needs from four principal sources. At the beginning of the nineteenth century these were all in need of repair, and so documents were prepared describing in detail the work to be carried out.

Fonte degli Angeli (graande)

The Fonte degli Angeli was the most beautiful from an architectural point of view. The visitor saw “a plastered and whitewashed elevation with a well defined cornice” this concluding in “a well-modelled facade” which had, in the tympanum, “a small bas-relief in marble with the figures of Our Lady and the Infant Jesus”. Below this were three coats of arms, also sculpted in marble. Two large “iron spouts” disgorged water into the basin beneath, which was enclosed by two plastered walls surmounted with “six small, toothed finials at each side”. The basin – which was used for watering livestock – had brick parapets, which were furnished on the external side with “a bench of limestone and travertine”. Between the basin and the side walls, the floor was “paved with flags of limestone”. To the north a small channel (the gorello - or little race) carried water to two public wash-houses. The water from the spring, located but a short distance from the fountain, was carried in an underground channel through thirteen stone pools used for filtration and cleaning.

The second source of water – both as regards importance and vicinity to the village – was the Fonte della Boldrona, to be found along the so-called “via comunitativa da Suvereto a Campiglia”. The name, known from the thirteenth century in documents citing the name Boldrone, brings to mind the existence of tanneries, for the word means the sheep’s fleece once separated from the skin. At the beginning of the nineteenth century this source consisted of a cistern from which a subterranean channel fed “a fountain with brick facade plastered and whitewashed”, supplied with “an iron spout” set into a block of marble. Beneath this was an elongated trough for watering livestock.

A third water source was situated along the road linking Suvereto to Belvedere, the Fonte di Belvedere. This was a simple “iron tube” releasing water brought there underground from two springs higher up the hillside. The fountain was formed of a square, walled basin, with a paved floor and vaulted roof. A low wall separated this from the trough for the use of livestock. In 1840 the Local Council decided to build an aqueduct in order to bring at least part of the water from the Belvedere spring to supply “a fountain to be built in Suvereto for the purposes of drinking water for the population”. A long channel formed of terracotta pipes was followed by iron piping in a “tunnel” which carried the water from the area of L’Insegna to a fountain in the main square of the village.

The Fonte della Pietrasca lay further from the centre, southwards toward the Cornia river. The abundant waters of this supply were used both by the inhabitants of Suvereto and those of the “surrounding plains”, as was written in 1834 in support of proposals to maintain the source as best could be done.
Northwards along the Sassetta road, and yet farther from the village, we find the Fonte dell’Annunziata. This dates to the thirteenth century, the age to which the adjacent church belongs, with the function of serving travellers. In 1884 the Local Council asked to take over the rights to the spring in order to build an aqueduct to supply the village, and the appearance that the spring presents today dates back to that time.