Monday, November 26, 2007

Drain Pipe Mystery

A building in Florence where the gutter downspout is partially in the wall 

We were near the Piazza Repubblica and I took this photo of a typical building in the city. Notice the gutter drain pipe (downspout) goes into the wall above the ground floor. This is the kind of thing that gets me thinking. Why do they do that? 

The other day we came up with some plausible hypotheses. 

* If they ran the pipe to the ground it would probably be destroyed, as simple as that. Seeing the way cars and scooters are parked and the way bikes are chained to anything stationary, it's best to not expose the downspouts for use and abuse.

* In the wall, the downspout water combines with house waste water – combined waste water. 

* Once upon a time houses collected rainwater into a cistern for use in the house. By design, the downspouts went into the walls and emptied the water into a cistern inside the house's cortile and not out into the street. The aesthetic remained even if cisterns are not commonly used today.


  1. Here's an idea: why don't you two Italian-speaking smarty pants-eeez go inside one of these buildings and ask the owner? Or how about asking your Maestro? Don't make me come over there and smack you guys in the head now! i want to see a post with the answer soon.

  2. If we asked someone in the building they wouldn't know the answer.


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