The Fountain of the Time Passing By 0 Comments

The Fountain of the Time Passing By

In the Rosello valley, outside the ancient city of Sassari’s walls, under the bridge, there is the Rosello Fountain, at 1h30, 122 km from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites. It is not limited to being a fountain like many others, but it is a unique monument in all of Sardinia, an effective unique piece of history which, with an allegorical meaning, represents the passage of time in the city of Sassari, in which the months are represented by twelve mouths, called cantaros and the seasons from the four statues, at the base of which water flows from the mouths of four dolphins.

The work was begun by Genoese workers in 1603 in the late Renaissance style, and is considered a symbol of the city of Sassari. The water is that of the Gurusellu spring which already in Roman times fed the aqueduct that supplied Porto Torres - Turris Libisonis.

The water carriers were the ones bringing the water from the Rosello fountain to the people’s houses, by filling their barrels at the fount and then loading them onto the saddles of their donkeys. At the end of the 19th century, there were about three hundred donkeys used to transport water. The fountain was also used to do laundry and was a reference point for travellers, who quenched their thirst there.

When this fountain was built, the serious plague epidemic of 1582 had just ended and the Spanish domination was experiencing their last Sardinian phase, as the Iberians’ interest was now aimed at the conquest of the New World.

It is said that there was great rivalry between Sassari and the inhabitants of Sorso, called "sussinchi" by the people of Sassari, who tried to steal the fountain by tying it with ropes obtained from the palm tree. When wet, the vegetable rope stretches like a rubber band, so the people of Sorso, while pulling, thought that the fountain was approaching their Church Tower. Imagine the laughter of the inhabitants of Sassari who devised the rigmarole to make fun of the sussinchi "tira che ti tostha , che Ruseddu s'accosta", roughly translated as keep pulling that the fountain will approach to you.

The legend of the attempted theft is still alive in the minds of the elderly people of Sassari, who still talk about it and refer to the fact that the people of Sorso were nutty because they drank water from the famous Billellera fountain, but more than nutty perhaps they were a bit drunk? It seems that things went this way.

The two cities initially agreed to share the Rosello fountain, but the people of Sassari broke the deal and after long quarrels between the two communities, the people of Sorso decided to build a second fountain, the Billellera fountain, from which, however, no water would have flowed but excellent wine instead! A definitely credible story, according to the people of Sorso, and certainly connectable to the notoriously excellent wine produced in the Turritan town.

There is also a postage stamp recalling the Fountain of Rosello. In 1975 Eros Donnini created the third issue of the Fountains of Italy series for the Italian Post Office: the “Fountain of Rosello” completed the trio made of the “Fountain of the 99 Spouts" in L'Aquila and of the “Spring in Piazza Fontana" in Milan.

“I arrived in a square

filled with a sovereign entity,

a beautiful fountain

and all-around a frantic bliss.”

(Carlo Betocchi)


Written by Daniela Toti


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