When you think of a public drinking fountain, your mind probably jumps to water or maybe even chocolate. But one new fountain in Italy is bringing a little extra something to the table by dispense wine instead of water—and, get this, it’s free. As Catherine Edwards reports for The Local, a vineyard in the Italian region of Abruzzo has built the country’s first-ever wine fountain that dispenses red Montepulciano wine around the clock and costs nothing to drink from.
Called the Fontana del Vino, it was unveiled this past Sunday in Ortona along a popular pilgrimage route called the Cammino di San Tommaso, which connects historical churches and abbeys leading up to a basilica where the remains of Saint Thomas are said to be kept. The wine fountain, which was made possible thanks to a collaboration between Dora Sarchese and an organization that promotes the path, is designed to encourage pilgrims to stop for a glass of wine and relax after their journey.
As the first wine fountain to make its home in Italy, it’s definitely a sight for sore eyes. But the fountain isn’t just a tourist attraction—it was designed to help locals enjoy their favorite beverage and give a boost to the wine industry in the area. The wine fountain was built to showcase the vineyard’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape, which is harvested and crushed on site, as well as other locally produced wines like Chianti, Sangiovese, and Pecorino. The wine fountain also offers the opportunity to learn more about Abruzzo’s rich wine culture and its history of winemaking, which dates back to the sixth century B.C.
Located in front of the church of Sant’Antonio in Caldari di Ortona, the wine fountain is housed in a beautiful, walk-in wine barrel, complete with clear spacing between the slats to give it an almost confessional feel. And while it might not be the fabled Fountain of Youth, the fountain of wine certainly seems to be working its magic.
While this might be a first for Italy, there are a few other wine fountains scattered throughout the Old World. In Navarra, Spain, for example, there’s one that serves up a glass of wine to those passing by on another religious pilgrimage route every hour.
But for now, you’ll have to plan your trip to Italy (or simply keep this amazing wine fountain in mind) to experience the full power of this wine wonderland. For more information on the wine fountain or to see photos of it in action, visit Dora Sarchese’s website here. In the meantime, we’ll be over here trying to find a good excuse to book our flight!