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You may have said "It's like digging St. Patrick's Well" sometimes in your life, meaning you are not getting anywhere because the well is unbelievably deep. In Italy you hear people saying “I am not St. Patrick's Well” meaning that they do not have an inexhaustible means of funds. The Pozzo di San Patrizio (St. Patrick's Well) is a real well in Orvieto, Umbria, central Italy. The name was inspired by medieval legends that St. Patrick's Purgatory in Ireland gave access down to Purgatory, indicating something deep, but the well is actually in Italy.

It was built by architect-engineer Antonio da Sangallo the Younger of Florence between 1527 and 1537, at the behest of Pope Clement VII who had taken refuge at Orvieto during the sack of Rome in 1527 by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and feared that the city's water supply would be insufficient in the event of a siege.

The architect-engineer Antonio da Sangallo the Younger surrounded the central well shaft with two spiral ramps in a double helix, accessed by two doors, which allowed mules to carry empty and full water vessels separately in downward and upward directions without obstruction. The cylindrical well is 53.15 metres (174.4 ft) deep with a base diameter of 13 metres (43 ft). There are 248 steps and 70 windows provide illumination. An inscription on the well states that ‘quod natura munimento inviderat industria adiecit’ (what nature stinted for provision, application has supplied.)




  • Source: Fotografiert im September 2004 von Fantasy  :-)
  • Description: Orvieto Pozzo San Patrizio
  • history: de.wikipedia 11:07, 28. Sep 2004 . . Fantasy . . 1600x1200 (215634 Byte) (Fotografiert im September 2004 von Fantasy :-) GFDL)