Old fountains, built in settlements all over Europe, have almost completely lost their original function: to provide inhabitants with water. Although their management currently represents a problem for the public administrations that nearly always own them, it is also an excellent opportunity to revitalise historically anthropized areas. The Fontana Fraterna in Isernia is an exception. Built between the thirteenth and fourteen centuries, the fountain currently embodies the identity of Isernia’s community; it is a place where young people gather and socialise even if its removal from its original site and the last world war have changed its relationship with the city and, as a result, its attraction as a cherished but discreet meeting place. The subject matter has been explored following a historically proven methodology. The first step was the collection, selection, and classification of known documents, next that of researching and examining new sources – involving analysing archive documents, the iconographic collections, published material and interviewing the city’s inhabitants. In the last stage, when the historical-morphologicalarchitectural picture was clarified, a photographic and metric survey was made in order to directly acquire the chromatic and spatial data. This study aimed to meet several requirements at the same time. In addition to satisfying the personal desire to measure myself with the architecture of water, there was also the wish to make use of the database of valuable structures created by the University of Molise’s L.a.co.s.t.a. Laboratory, and lastly to make the fountain known outside the regional confines. The result is a chronological collection of information, drawings and photographs on which it was possible to reflect and make comparative studies of the monument and the urban area in which it is situated, but it also provided an occasion on which to reflect on the sense of collective identity.
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