Waterless Weekend

14 Jul
This eroded lion head fountain is the only source of water for our while building of 14 condos. He's over 100 years old.

This eroded lion/hippo/whatever-head fountain is the only source of water for our whole building of 14 condos. He’s over 100 years old.

Living in Rome is a dream; we pinch ourselves almost daily. But for two days, it’s been a bit scomodo (inconvenient). We have had no water in the apartment. We had showers Saturday, but since about 12:30 yesterday, nothing. It seems the pump is out. Apparently the city feeds the property (a condominium building, about 110 years old), and the distribution is via an electric pump underground, accessed through a scary stairway.  The portiere (superintendent) is away for the weekend as he gets half of Saturday and all of Sunday off. And there is no one else to call. No management firm we are made aware of. Ric and I tried to reset the circuit breaker on the pump yesterday, to no avail. But thought we were just being stupid Americans not knowing what to do or who to call in an emergency.  Then today our 80-something-year-old neighbor, Signora Vyta (who may actually have lived in this building her entire life from what I understand), asked us to go with her to the pump and see if we could fix it. She was fed up. She’d called the portiere with no result, no answer, and she wanted to try and fix it. So Signora Vyta oversaw a second attempt telling Ric (in Italian) what to do to reset it and told us this happens a lot. Apparently never when we are at home. Just our luck this time!

Ric makes the umpteenth trip to fill a bucket. We have tons of bottled water on hand, too, because that's what we do in Rome.  And there's always wine.

Ric makes the umpteenth trip to fill a bucket. We have tons of bottled water on hand, too, because that’s what we do in Rome. And there’s always wine.

So how do we function with no water? We haul buckets in from the only functioning source on the property, a tiny little old-fashioned, 100-plus-year-old fountain, now controlled with a spigot. We use gravity to flush, and we went to the Embassy today to shower, a 2-hour round trip. I heated water on the stove to wash dishes, just like camping in the 1960s with my parents.

What’s worse, we had to cancel a dinner party planned for tonight! We’ve decided being without water actually sucks more than an Internet outage.  I only hope Emilio, our portiere, knows where to hit the pump with his magic hammer to get it back online tonight. 

Gravity flush. Just keep a bucket close by.

Gravity flush. Just keep a bucket close by.

11 Responses to “Waterless Weekend”

  1. Ken July 17, 2013 at 07:42 #


    Sorry to hear about your water problem. Many people likely take their water supply for granted, so it’s really a shock when it’s not there. If this happens on a regular basis, I suspect there’s more of a problem than just the circuit breaker. Given my electrical background, I’d be interested to know that the problem was (if you ever find out).


    • gooddayrome July 17, 2013 at 07:48 #

      Dear Ken,

      Nice to hear from you!

      It seems the pump went out entirely and has to be replaced. It was not merely electrical, you are right!

      *Laurel L. Barton* *Roma, Italia* http://www.GoodDayRome.com


  2. Sharon July 16, 2013 at 15:59 #

    You could always go dance in a fountain! LOL I was fascinated with the water system the Romans built…aqueducts and fountains to supply the city…they were very smart!
    PS I think your little fountainhead is a hippo…makes sense…don’t cats hate water??
    Thank you for your posts. I am living in Rome vicariously through you!!


  3. R. July 15, 2013 at 04:20 #

    It sounds like the building needs the HOA to do special assessment! I keed, I keed. Try the Roast Beef and don’t forget to tip your waiter!! 🙂 Seriously though, just reading this made me think about how there are so many things like this I take for granted day-to-day. Great post! –R.


    • gooddayrome July 15, 2013 at 04:43 #

      Glad we aren’t owners here! The HOA is someone else’s problem. In the U.S. there would be an emergency number to reach the management company and we’d all be in the street complaining bitterly. Here, there’s a collective shrug of the shoulders and we carry on. I thought it was hysterical that the one neighbor who tried to take action was little old Signora Vyta!

      *Laurel L. Barton* *Roma, Italia* http://www.GoodDayRome.com


  4. Will McAllister July 15, 2013 at 01:13 #

    I guess this is the other side of “living as a local.” But think of all the memories you’ll have … 🙂

    BTW, although I don’t reply to every post, I read every post. I always look forward to reading the latest Gooddayrome posting.


    • gooddayrome July 15, 2013 at 03:31 #

      Thanks Will! Nice to know you are “out there.” Many memories and often good fodder for the blog! Have a wonderful summer!

      *Laurel L. Barton* *Roma, Italia* http://www.GoodDayRome.com


  5. Anita HIlmoe July 14, 2013 at 23:27 #

    It’s funny, I’ve see those lion head spigots in movies and such but never realized what an important part of life they apparently still are.


    • gooddayrome July 15, 2013 at 03:27 #

      Yes indeed they are very important and omnipresent. The Roman system of public fountains for drinking makes the Benson Bubblers of Portland seem puny.

      *Laurel L. Barton* *Roma, Italia* http://www.GoodDayRome.com

      On Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 12:27 AM, gooddayrome


  6. Carolyn July 14, 2013 at 18:27 #

    Hi! Sorry about your water inconvenience. So easy to forget to be thankful for water each day when it is running as we expect it to be. Love ya, Carolyn


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