Cisterna della Fontana del Calamo


Useful Information

Location: Corso Giuseppe Mazzini, Ancona.
(43.618397, 13.512971)
Open: after appointment.
[2021]
Fee: yes.
[2021]
Classification: SubterraneaCistern
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=3,000 m.
Guided tours: D=60 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Cisterna della Fontana del Calamo, Ancona Sotterranea, Cell: +39-329-5462168. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1426 water tanks of the fountain extended.
1438 use of the fountain given to the College of the Art of Wool.
1503 demolished and scavenged for building material, used for the construction of the new House of Government in Piazza del Plebiscito.

Description

photography
Fontana del Calamo, Ancona, Italy. Public Domain.

Cisterna della Fontana del Calamo (Cistern of the Fontana del Calamo) is the ancient water cistern which provides the water for the famous spring. The Fontana del Calamo (Fountain of Calamus) is also named the Fontana delle Tredici Cannelle (Fountain of the Thirteen Spouts) because of its thirteen decorated spouts. The spring of Calamo was named after the swamps in the area, kalamos is the Greek word for reed, which grew around the spring. The Greek came to this place and used the spring for fresh water, the name stuck. The origin of the fountain is unknown, but there is a document about the extension of the water tanks from 1426. Today the fountain gets its water through modern pipes, but in ancient times the fountain drew water from a large cistern placed right in the walls behind it. The cistern was filled with water by an aqueduct from mount Conero.

The cistern is open to the public on certain festivities and for groups with reservation. The entrance is on the right side of the fountain. Tours are guided by guides from Ancona Sotterranea, a non-profit organization which explores the underground of the city. Beneath the cistern there are also tours into the Cisterns of Piazza Stamira and the Tunnels of the Viale della Vittoria. But while the cistern is an easy tourist visit with mostly level and dry floors and electric light, those tours are actually spelunking tours. They require helmet, headlamp, and gum boots.