Except for the periods of sieges, the water of the Bonifacio cisterns was mainly consumed for domestic uses. Most of the drinkable water came from a spring near the city – the longone- and from the well of St. Barthelemy. To do the washing, people used to visit the depressions in the longone spring. Outside the city in the surrounding rural areas, shepherds collected water thanks to runoff and infiltration. 

In gardens, a system of pipes allowed an equal and rigorous distribution of water.

In the 15th century, it was forbidden to restain any surface water vein except on watering days.  

In early 20th century, the longone spring supplied fountains in the city of Bonifacio, and inhabitants would pay water sellers to get their daily supplies. These sellers would go around the city with their donkeys carrying small barrels filled with 12-15 litres each, and would often carry them up to the fourth or fifth floor! 

As in most similar situations all around the world, women and children undertook the daily task of carrying water from the fountain to their home, usually placing a pot on their heads. Of course, the water buckets were heavy and stairs were steep, but this task offered a chance to chat, to laugh, to play, to meet friends and mates…

Private cisterns were in use up until the public network was installed in 1960. Today they are no longer used, and have symbolic and ornamental function.

                    Image courtesy of Hydria Virtual Museum
1920s in Bonifacio: A girl fills in a bucket in one of the public fountains ©

Hydria Virtual Museum

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