Venetian wells, lifeblood of the city

Mar 27, 2018 822


Living on an island presents a number of challenges. The first priorities are food, shelter and a reliable source of drinking water. The earliest settlers of the Venetian saltwater lagoon, however,  only had two out of three as freshwater was in short supply. Their solution was ingenious. And it would give the city with freshwater for over 1300 years until a supply was finally piped in from the mainland in 1884. This is the story of the Venetian vere da pozzo, lifeblood of the city. 

At first glance it may seem odd that a city floating in the center of the largest lagoon in the Mediterranean would struggle for water. After all, the 6000 year old lagoon was once fed by up to 10 rivers including the Brenta, Adige and Po. All this would surely suggest an ample supply of water for agriculture, drinking, fishing and washing. But that’s only half the story. 

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