Well, I never!

Vera da pozzo in the Corte de l'Aseo, Venice
Vera da pozzo, Corte de l'Aseo
Tucked away in the Corte de l'Aseo (in the sestiere of Dorsoduro), is a rather unusual sight. Someone has built their garden wall right through an ancient vera da pozzo, or well-head! 

Well-heads are a common feature in most Venetian campi and recall a time, before the arrival of piped water in the 19th century, when rain water was collected in vast underground cisterns. Water was a precious commodity and the well-head was kept locked and only opened for a limited number of hours each day. The key was usually kept by the local parish priest. 
Well head, or vera da pozzo, Ca' d'Oro, Venice
Vera da pozzo, Ca' D'Oro
Most well-heads were carved out of white Istrian stone, but occasionally Verona marble, a pinkish and much more expensive stone, was used. In terms of the elaborate details of their decoration, many well-heads are exquisite works of art, as we can see in the courtyard of the Ca' d'Oro. 

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