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Siena: the town of water


The water springs in Siena

The Fontebranda, that is also the name of the famous fountain of Piazza del Campo, is only one of the many springs that Siena is rich of. One of them is the ancient source of Pescaia near the torrent Pescaia, outside the Porta di Camollia, between the hill of the modern Art Nouveau district of San Prospero and San Basilio, outside the Porta di Pescaia, closed in 1369 for the great fear of enemy invasions. The trace of this ancient port is still visible in the apse of the emblematic church of Fontegiusta, which was built near the port Pescaia.
The spring is a well-preserved architectonical work of art. Recently restored, is characterized by three beautiful arches that emphasize the body of the building, the architectural structure. Between the seventeenth and early eighteenth century was expanded with the construction of a house that breaks the harmony of the building.
The construction of the Pescaia, following an ancient document dated back to the mid-thirteenth century, was commissioned by the municipality of Siena and completed in 1247.

Fresh fish for the market

There is something very unique to remember: the waters of Pescaia used to fill the nurseries of farmed fish that were transported alive to the city and kept in fontoni or tomboli, big tubs powered by the same torrent of Pescaia. Eels, chubs and trout came to the important medieval market still fresh and that is why this source is named Pescaia.
Now the Fonte Pescaia hosts a unique water museum, set up in 2010 AND designed by the architects Roberto Santini, Goffredo Serrini and Claudio Zagaglia of Social Design, and produced by Studio Azzurro and Mizar Paco Lanciano. The museum, using all the latest technical and computer support, shows the birth of that miraculous engineering project for the construction of the spoils, presented in 1334 by Jacopo di Vanni Ugolino. The spoils were conducted underground a red brick path, which took water out of the city and transported inside, supplying both the public sources that private palaces.
If you want to visit the Bottini system, just contact Speleologists Association Diana the take visitors inside the halls of this precious and unknown museum, which raise, one after another, curiosity and history, telling the mystery of water in the city of Siena.

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