Vatican turns off fountains amid Rome drought

100 Vatican fountains switched off as Rome faces water rationing.

The Vatican has turned off its 100 fountains in a show of solidarity with Rome as the capital grapples with worsening drought conditions.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said it was the first time that authorities in the tiny sovereign state could remember switching off all the fountains, which include the two Baroque masterpeices by 17th-century sculptors Bernini and Maderno in St Peter's Square, as well as the fountains in the Vatican Gardens.

Vatican daily newspaper L'Osservatore Romano described the move as being in line with Laudato si', Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment and sustainable development.

The measures come as Rome water authorities reportedly consider rationing the capital's water supply, possibly for eight hours a day in rotating districts, after 28 July. 

Rome has already switched off 200 of the city's 2,000 "nasoni" drinking fountains in a bid to conserve water, according to Italian news agency ANSA.