Italy

Acquaeductus

Rome’s ancient aqueducts are still viewed with great affection and feature regularly in daily life

Romans have always had a passion for water, and for the enormous aqueducts that, although now largely abandoned, to this day are still prominent features of the Eternal City. In the 1950s some of them were used to create makeshift homes, which were later immortalized as the settings for some of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s films. Today the aqueducts’ majestic presence continues to feature in Roman life.
Their story dates back to ancient times: built beginning from the 4th century B.C., they supplied – and some continue to supply – water to buildings, public fountains and baths. The pipes and channels were built on a slight and constant gradient with a drop of around one metre every kilometre. Damaged over the centuries, many were not maintained and stopped functioning.
Their arches have long been a symbol of the Roman countryside and have often formed the backdrop to scenes depicting shepherds, common people and bandits as portrayed by romantic painters and in the diaries of travellers on the Grand Tour.