Have you visited the wine fountain in Abruzzo yet? The famous attraction sits humbly at the end of a country road, near Ortona in the province of Chieti. The only one in Italy, the Fontana del vino has quenched the thirst of many weary pilgrims and have attracted visitors from far and near.
The fountain came to life in 2016, when Nicola D’Auria, the owner of the Dora Sarchese winery, was inspired by two walkers. The couple, two avid walkers from Ortona, stopped by and told him about a pilgrimage they embarked on during a visit to the tomb of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. At the end of the pilgrimage, there was a fountain of wine installed by a local winery to reward weary pilgrims, which claims to be the first wine fountain in the world.
The wine fountain in Abruzzo is located just a few kilometres from the Cammino di San Tommaso walking trail, which pilgrims used for centuries to go across the Apennines from Rome to Ortona. Linking the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Thomas, the trail combines faith, nature, culture, and tradition.
As soon as it was built, the fountain became an instant attraction for hundreds of pilgrims and tourists from the region and around the world generating welcome publicity for Abruzzo and the historic walking trail.
The wine in the fountain is free but, despite its name, it is not free flowing. The correct name would be “wine on tap” as it disperses table red wine, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, through a tap mechanism. The wine is offered as a gesture to welcome pilgrims and tourists, however, don’t rush there with your big containers to fill up. It is a pure symbol of hospitality extended by the region of Abruzzo and everyone is expected to enjoy it sensibly and responsibly.
Contrary to what you might find in many inaccurate posts online, the wine fountain in Abruzzo is not open to the public 24/7 but only during business hours of Dora Sarchese Winery (see below). Plastic glasses are provided.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9am-12.30pm, 3pm – 6pm; Saturday 9am – 12.30pm. Closed on Sunday.
Getting there: The Fontana del vino is not easy to find. Like many attractions in Abruzzo, it is off the beaten track with little or no signage but some kind soul has added it to Google Maps. Enter “fontana del vino” or “free red wine fountain” in your Google Maps to navigate there. Alternatively, enter “Dora Sarchese Winery” and follow the directions. Once you arrive at the winery’s gates, there are visible signage that will help guide you towards the fountain.
If you are exploring the Costa Dei Trabocchi, it is the perfect detour to break up the coastal scenery and relish the serenity of country roads Abruzzo has to offer (and to be rewarded with a drop of Abruzzo’s flagship variety of wine for free).
By Udhana Abeysekera