THE FOUNTAIN OF VIA PRATI (PRATI’S STREET)
The fountain of Via Prati (Prati’s Street) introduces a particular theme of the territory of Bienno in relation to the presence of the Vaso Ré (the Rè Duct): the wealth of fountains due to the abundance of water and the presence of this duct, that crosses the country supplying water to the forges, mills and sawmills, but also for the domestic use, the watering of livestock, the irrigation and the cleaning of the country.
Giacomo Morandini in his book “Bienno in the twentieth century” wrote: “For its great abundance of water and fountains, Bienno earned the title of “Biénn fontanéar” (Bienno, the village of numerouses fountains). This issue was really the leading wire of an in-depth research carried out in 2001 by the second class of the middle school of Berzo Inferiore with the Professor Daniela Minolfi, the students carded index and documented all the fountains of Bienno, finding a good sixteen historical fountains, eight of which were built recently, and also three wash-houses.
In fact, this theme makes us think about a very precious and essential good as the water. There are exactly the fountains to let us follow the soundtrack created by the flow of the water even where you move away from the Vaso Ré (the Rè Duct).
Today there are still visible several fountains diffused all over the country; these tracks exactly will help us to follow the course of the water, but they will make us discover the history that this village tells, too.
The fountain of Via Prati (Prati’s Street) is in a leaning half-goblet type with a floor. In fact, it develops from a semicircular base that has a shaft with handles which supports the half-goblet basin, rounded with the curved edge.
The floor is moulded and has at its sides two mirror volutes with a broken line; its upper part ends with a jutting cornice and a cyma with opposing volutes, which arrange themselves around a valve of shell. At the centre you find the gargoyles, which is circular and jutting.
This is the only fountain of this kind made up of grit and it should have been placed on this spot in the early years of the twentieth century.
There is still to be pointed out in this territory, exactly in front of the Forge Museum, a small stele-model fountain made up of cast iron, probably dating back to the same period of the Fountain of Via Prati (Prati’s Street) (the early years of the twentieth century), placed during the urbanization works of Via Artigiani (Artigiani’s Street).