Healing Italian well water 'is toxic'

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The Independent Online

A well in northern Italy which attracts thousands of pilgrims hopeful of finding miraculous cures for their bodily ills has been condemned by the local health authority as toxic.

The supposed healing properties of the well in the village of Garlasco, near the city of Pavia, were discovered by its owner Ivo Pignotti, who is now 80. He claimed that both his father and a family friend were cured of shingles after washing in the water.

As many as 11,000 hopeful people streamed into the village last year to drink the water of the well, which is claimed to cure diseases including psoriasis and prostate illness. Mr Pignotti does not charge people for the water, but says he receives about €100 (£85) from tips every day.

But now the health authority in Pavia has carried out tests on the water which indicate it is seriously contaminated by pesticides and other chemicals and is unfit for human consumption. Its advice is to leave the water alone.

The local priest who has blessed the "miraculous" water has not yet issued a statement about the case.