Italian town welcomes pilgrims with free wine fountain open 24/7

The fountain comes at the end of the Cammino di San Tommaso in the town of Ortana

Italian town welcomes pilgrims with free wine fountain open 24/7

[Dora Sarchese Vini]

An Italian town located at the end of a traditionally religious pilgrimage route has opened a fountain for parched travellers serving locally-produced red wine 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The fountain, called the Fontana del vino, is the first of its kind and entirely free of charge.

Located in Caldari di Ortona in the Abruzzo region, the fountain was set up for tourists and pilgrims who make the trip from Rome along the Cammino di San Tommaso. Thousands make the journey every year from the capital to visit the cathedral where the remains of Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, are kept.

The fountain, which has been described as not a place for “drunks” or “louts” to loiter, is a joint venture between a local vineyard and a non-profit organisation charged with maintenance and promotion of the route. The Italian vineyard took inspiration from a similar project set up along the world famous Spanish pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago, in 2014.

“The wine fountain is a place of welcome, the wine fountain is poetry,” write the Dora Sarchese vineyard on its Facebook page, adding that the fontana is not a mere publicity stunt.

While the Ortana fountain is not the first publically accessible wine font in Italy, organisers claim it is the only one in the country to offer free wine all day long. Other fountains in the country are switched to wine during festivals and to mark local occasions, such as the Marino fountain which honours the annual grape harvest by distributing white wine for an hour from its taps every year.

The Marino fountain made international headlines in 2009 when a plumbing error saw the white wine channelled into the local water supply, pouring from taps inside homes instead of the fountain.

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