Monday, June 20, 2016

Not All Fountains Are Just For Looks (Boboli Garden)

Fountains are cool. Even better are fountains within fountains. The coolest though is the one endless fountain we saw in Florence, at the Boboli Garden. We all thought it was an ordinary fountain that was intended to impress guests. Most exotic things back then were designed to impress. Surprisingly enough, this particular fountain had an ideal purpose, trapping birds.

The way the trap worked was by running the water down the fountain attracting birds, like a birdbath. Eventually, the birds would fly away some towards the bushes and others not. The birds that did fly into the bushes would be captured by a net that had been concealed in the bushes. I learned that this net was most likely related to what we now call a mist net. Nets that are easily concealed in trees or bushes are are virtually invisible. The birds would then be trapped at the bottom of the nets and unable to escape. At the end of the day, the servants would come by and empty the nets of the birds and take them back to the main house to be cooked for food.

The location of the fountain had been placed at the back of the garden where only servants and owners wandered, making it the ideal place to trap for food. It was away from the main house and frequently visited gardens so it was out of sight.

Today there are still many that consume birds of all kinds. I even had some while in Castel Gandolfo, and I must say that I can see why it was such a popular meal. There are many other methods that are used to trap birds now a days, but this particular method was extravagant, and particularly fitting for an extravagant family, the Medici, that occupied the residence of the Pitti Palace from the 1550's to around 1737.


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