Back when we were first learning to use the nasone.

Rome is normally very expensive, but one of the best things in the city is free! I am talking about the drinking fountains all around Rome, called nasone.

Why are these fountains called nasone (or “big noses” in Italian)? It is because these fountains have long, bent tubes or spouts coming out of them that resemble long noses.  You can put your head under the spout or fill up a water bottle. But the “noses” also have little holes on top. So if you put your finger in the spout, water shoots up out of the spout (like a whale’s blow hole) and it is an easy drinking fountain.

Most of the nasone were first installed in 1874.

They are useful for refilling water bottles.

Most tourists don’t know that the water coming out of these fountains is drinkable. It is especially surprising how good the water tastes. It tastes good and is refreshing because it comes from the mountains, through aqueducts and a mix of springs around the city.

Teaching Zach, Gaby, and Sam to use the nasone when they visited.

Some people think it is a waste of water to have the fountains running all the time. But it is good because people do not need to danger the earth by buying new plastic water bottles all the time.

There are more than 2,500 nasone in Rome.  Most are in the historical center, but you can still find some on the outskirts.

A special naso on Via Margutta, around the corner from us.

I like them because when it is really hot out and I am thirsty, I can wet my head under them and have a drink. My favorite place for nasone to be is when it is right near a gelato place. So if I get stuff on my hands, I can wash it off. And it is always good to drink after you eat gelato.

Nasone are useful for dunking kids in.

There are also more than 90 fountains that you can drink from around Rome. One of the most famous is the “broken boat” fountain near our house in Piazza di Spagna.

— Eli

The nasone and the water are owned by the city of Rome. That is why they all have SPQR written on them. It stands for Senatus Populusque Romanus (“The Senate and People of Rome”). But my Dad keeps saying that it means Sono Pazzi Questi Romani, which is Italian for “These Romans are crazy.” It isn’t true, he is just being goofy.