Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Plonk in the plumbing

The residents of the Italian town of Marino have something to celebrate in earnest this year.

Every year the little town of Marino in the wine-making region of the Alban Hills south of Rome holds a festival to mark an historic event more than 400 years ago, celebrating the occasion by having sparkling white wine flow instead of water from the public fountain in the town square.

But this week the pipes from the local vineyard which supply the marble fountain during the event were hooked up instead to the domestic water supply for much of the town.

When mayor Adriano Palozzi, the parish priest and locals gathered round the fountain, with glasses at the ready for a drop of crisp dry white, they were left disappointed as the everyday water poured out.

But minutes later came the shout of 'Miracolo' from a house overlooking the square. The householder rushed out onto her balcony to reveal that wine was flowing from her kitchen tap.

Yesterday the event was the talk of the town as plumbers fixed the pipework.

One local named Anna said: 'I was in the kitchen ready to do the housework and filled up a bucket of water to mop the floor. But I noticed the smell - and realised it was white wine.

'I called my neighbours and they turned on their taps to find they had the wine too.

The word quickly spread and everyone filled up bottles and plastic containers with the wine.

'Everyone thought it was a miracle.'

Mayor Palozzi said: 'It was a surprise and completely unexpected - workmen are fixing the problem which obviously came about through a technical error.

'Many houses have been affected. People were calling it a miracle, but it wasn't, it was a mistake.

'I don't think it dampened the enthusiasm of people at the festival though, and everyone still had a good time.'

The Sagra dell Uva festival commemorates the return of admiral Marcantonio Colonna to his hometown of Marino following his victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in October 1571.

The town sent more than 250 sailors to the battle and the Sagra is celebrated every October to give thanks for their safe return.

Hmm. I wonder how many bathtubs were rapidly filled before the plumbers could correct the error? And how many townsfolk will wander around, growing increasingly smelly, but so happily soused that they won't notice a thing until the vino runs out?


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