A wry view of life for the world-weary

Fountain Of The Week


I’m partial to the odd glass of vino and so my ears pricked up this week when I heard of an attraction available at the Italian town of Caldari di Ortana in Abruzzo. I had previously associated it with a stop off on the Cammino di San Tomasso, the route along which pilgrims tramp from Ortana where the bones of St Thomas are supposed to lie to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Not being a left footer and doubting the provenance of the bones, I have always left it at that.

Now, though, there is a reason for going. The Dora Sarchese winery has installed a 24 hour, free, red wine fountain in the town. Apparently, it works like one of those push button water drinking fountain jobbies. The winery was coy as to the type of wine on offer so I suppose you have to take a chance but even a coarse Italian red gratis would be acceptable.

The courtiers of Henry VIII and the French king Francis I had a wine fountain to enjoy when the two monarchs met in 1520 and there is a famous picture of some of them lolling around at its base in a drunken stupor. Dora Sarchese say that their largesse is not to promote public drunkenness but to offer succour to weary pilgrims. Wait until the stag party operators hear about it!


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