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The mystery of the rotten water fountains of Milan.

Milan is city full of small fountains pouring fresh water. During summer these fountains are a blessing for thirsty people but what about the rotten water fountains? The name is not an inviting one but, despite their name, these fountains were a real panacea.

There were three of these fountains and all of them were pouring healthy sulfuric water. Having an unusual octagonal shape, these fountains are made of massive stones.

One is in Sempione Park, the other one is into the median strip of Piceno Avenue and the last one is in Sant’Angelo square. Today we talk about the latter one, hidden in a corner transformed into yellow by autumn, placed just in front of the homonymous church.

On the rocks it’s carved a part of the Canticle of the Creatures of Saint Francis of Assisi. On one side of the fountain there is the statue of the Saint absorbed into meditation, with bent head glancing toward a group of birds on the other side.

The statue suggests serenity, quietness and meditation despite the immersion into the noise of the traffic. While I was taking my photos I was imaging this corner of the world as a suspended into time, somewhere else, hearing only the sound of wind on the trees and the chirp of the birds.

Photo after photo I recalled the words of the Saint Francis Canticle of the Creatures.



Altissimu, onnipotente, bon Signore,

tue so’ le laude, la gloria e l’honore et onne benedictione.

Ad te solo, Altissimo, se konfano,

et nullu homo ène dignu te mentovare.

Laudato sie, mi’ Signore, cum tucte le tue creature,

spetialmente messor lo frate sole,

lo qual è iorno, et allumini noi per lui.

Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore:

de te, Altissimo, porta significatione.

Laudato si’, mi’ Signore, per sora luna e le stelle:

in celu l’ài formate clarite et pretiose et belle.

Laudato si’, mi’ Signore, per frate vento

et per aere et nubilo et sereno et onne tempo,

per lo quale a le tue creature dài sustentamento.

Laudato si’, mi’ Signore, per sor’aqua,

la quale è multo utile et humile et pretiosa et casta.

Laudato si’, mi’ Signore, per frate focu,

per lo quale ennallumini la nocte:

ed ello è bello et iocundo et robustoso et forte.

Laudato si’, mi’ Signore, per sora nostra matre terra,

la quale ne sustenta et governa,

et produce diversi fructi con coloriti flori et herba.

Laudato si’, mi’ Signore, per quelli ke perdonano per lo tuo amore

et sostengo infirmitate et tribulatione.

Beati quelli ke ‘l sosterrano in pace,

ka da te, Altissimo, sirano incoronati.

Laudato si’, mi’ Signore, per sora nostra morte corporale,

da la quale nullu homo vivente pò skappare:

guai a·cquelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali;

beati quelli ke trovarà ne le tue sanctissime voluntati,

ka la morte secunda no ‘l farrà male.

Laudate e benedicete mi’ Signore et rengratiate

e serviateli cum grande humilitate.



Highest, omnipotent good Lord!

Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honour

And all blessing

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.

No human lips are worthy

To pronounce Your name.

Praised be You, my Lord with all Your creatures

Especially our brother, Master Sun

Who brings the day and the light

that warms us he that is beautiful and radiant

In all his splendour!

He brings meaning of You, O Most High..

Praised be You, my Lord

For Sister Moon and the Stars;

In the heavens You have made them

Precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord

Through Brothers Wind

And air, and clouds and storms,

And all the weather,

Through which You give sustenance Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord

For Sister Water;

So very useful, and humble

And precious, and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord

For Brother Fire,

Through whom you brighten the night.

He who is beautiful and gay

And vigorous and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord

For our sister Mother Earth

Who feeds and governs us,

And produces various fruits

And coloured flowers and plants

Praised be You, my Lord

For those who forgive out of love for You;

And endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace

For by you, Most High, they shall be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord

For our Sister Bodily Death,

From whose embrace no living person can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin!

Happy those she finds

Doing your most holy will.

The second death can do no harm to them!

Praise and bless my Lord

And give thanks

And serve him with great humility.


One of the many hidden places of Milan deserving to be visited.

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