Fountain of Mezzomonte
A public water experiment
The fountain consists of a basin whose shape, after restoration works carried out in the 18th century, is semi-oval. Originally, however, the fountain was presumably horseshoe-shaped, as postulated by Lugli.
Thanks to a comparison with the walls of Domitian’s villa, he also assumes that the building technique dates back to the same period. Polychromy was attained by alternating cubes of limestone and tuff, interspersed with clay.
It is not clear whether the water came from a fracture or an overflow spring, however the technique used for water captation, digging, and building of a watertight cistern was very common before lifting pumps were invented.
In the 1940s, a lifting pump was built just a few metres from the spring, replacing the ancient work and channelling its flow towards San Felice Circeo.
The spring of Mezzomonte, which used to flow into a channel west of the structure, was initially used to take water to the settlement between Torre Paola and Cala dei Pescatori, and maybe it even supplied the first stages of what became Domitian’s luxury villa.
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