You are along the route: AQUEDUCTS AND FOUNTAINS. THE MARVEL OF WATER
The places included in this itinerary are open for visit all week long. The suggested itinerary contains only landmarks which are always visible and is, therefore, completely free.
“The magnificence of the Roman Empire is revealed in three things: the Sewage system, the Roads, the Aqueducts”. By these words, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a Greek historian that lived at the time of Augustus, underlined the well-known ability of the Romans for hydraulic engineering, which gave to the Capital of the Roman Empire, as early as the IV century AD, the impressive number of nineteen aqueducts.
With the fall of the empire, the wars and the lack of a stable political authority that could ensure the use and the maintenance of a system of such complexity, this precious water supply system went neglected.
However, this important heritage was later restored with the rebirth of the city after the dark times of the Middle Age. In the XVI century the Popes ordered to restore some to the ancient roman plants and to partially reuse some other existing structures to build a new aqueduct. The city was then enriched with monumental fountains, but also with countless drinking fountains, often in the shape of the typical “nasoni”, thus creating a complex, hidden waterway system.
Walking along the Felice aqueduct, built under Pope Sixtus V, the visitor reaches Porta Maggiore, where eight of eleven ancient aqueducts met and then split to reach the different areas of the Capital. Each aqueduct ended in a celebrating construction, the so-called “Mostra”, which takes the form of a monumental city fountain: the Fountain of Moses is the Mostra of the Felice aqueduct, the Trevi Fountain belongs to the Vergine aqueduct, the “Fontanone” in the Gianicolo is part of the Paolo aqueduct and the Fountain of the Naiads, the most recent of them all, belongs to the Pio Marcio aqueduct. The secondary branches of the aqueduct originating from each Mostra were used to supply elegant renaissance fountains and marvellous baroque creations, like Bernini’s fountains, in the most beautiful squares of Rome. The Capital remained the regina aquarum also in modern times, with some of the most impressive fountains of the Italian XX century built to decorate the new areas of the city.