In the small and large historical centers and Italian villages, fountains are always present: whether they are former washhouses in rural areas or imposing Baroque fountains, water has always played an important role in aggregating people. In ancient times fountains constituted an indispensable distribution point for drinking water and domestic hygiene.
Many Italian cities host real masterpieces that have become highly representative monuments and symbols, just think of the Trevi fountain in Rome, the Italian capital known for the beauty of its water artifacts.
In the new designs and in projects of restoration and redevelopment of historical fountains, social and decorative purposes have been maintained and enhanced. The municipal administrations pay particular attention to the projects of public fountains, both for the restoration and extraordinary maintenance and for the structural or plant restoration and the aesthetic and technological restyling. Designers introduce them in redevelopment projects of public areas or water features in new residential and tourist subdivisions: the fountains represent hubs of aggregation, historical monuments bearers of beauty and well-being, cooling corners particularly appreciated during the Summer, and interactive elements. An example of the use of water in urban redevelopment is Borgata Gerbido, in Grugliasco, in the Turin hinterland where the construction of a flush fountain was aimed at the refurbishment of Piazza Camilleri, enriching it both from an aesthetic and social point of view.
Public fountains were the focus of the spotlight during the drought Summer 2022: water saving has led several municipal administrations to turn off historic and monumental fountains because they lack a water recirculation system that allows for minimal use and replenishment only in the evaporated part, without waste. In other situations, the absence of an adequate filtration system is the cause of continuous malfunctions or of algae in green water.
The fountains are instead important elements of beauty and sociality while representing a burden for municipal and private entities. The PNRR – National Recovery and Resilience Plan has activated various tools for the redevelopment of villages and rural or urban centers available to municipal administrations, public bodies, the private sector, and in the field of restoring fountains, fish ponds and bio lakes. The “Piano Nazionale Borghi”, intended for the restoration of the historical heritage and the redevelopment of public spaces, also includes the works for the arrangement and restoration of the fountains and the creation of new furnishings for the enhancement of public places. Even in municipalities with more than 15,000 inhabitants, the funds made available by the PNRR are aimed at the renovation of public buildings and the redevelopment of degraded areas for the revitalization of the cities, including the maintenance and restoration of public works to allow their reuse.
Focus per Aquam, an ambitious project conceived and created by Forme d’Aqua Venice fountains, in the municipality of Porlezza, on Lugano lake, was created as part of the “Borghi Storici” redevelopment project aimed at improving the tourist offer. It is a removable dynamic dancing fountain that illuminates and cheers up the historic center with musical shows.
In addition to the possibilities given by the projects for the revitalization of villages and the recovery of urban areas, a program made to enhance the identity of the places, dedicated to historic parks and gardens for which numerous projects of recovery have been presented and that also includes the arrangement and restoration of the many abandoned fountains present in historic parks and gardens.
As for rural areas, the call for applications for the protection and enhancement of architecture and the rural landscape is still in the process of receiving applications (deadline 30 September); by way of example, the works to( recover the external spaces of the “Ville Venete” (Venetian villas) are also included among the works that can be financed.
Fountains, being particular artifacts that contain hydraulic, mechanical and electronic parts, always in close contact with water if not immersed, require specialized periodic ordinary maintenance which includes actions to be carried out continuously to ensure the proper functioning of the technology and the correct chemical treatment of the water to avoid the formation of limescale and algae deposits.
In June 2022 the restoration of a part of the park and the fountains of Villa Grock was presented, a large recovery and restoration project in which Forme d’Acqua participated through the MEP design of the recirculation system between the three fountains and implementing the biological filtration system that made the imposing fishpond sustainable and restored the fascinating water features. The restoration operations were financed with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo.
The PNRR – national recovery and resilience plan has paved the way for the redevelopment of villages and urban and extra-urban centers and represents a great opportunity to restore the beautiful country to its former glory: let’s not miss the possibility of growing in beauty and sustainability.