Ancient Roman Aqueducts

Ancient Roman aqueducts are some of the most impressive architectural remnants of the once dominant Roman Empire. The technological advances that were made around the first century AD by both the Greeks and Romans in the areas of architecture, construction, and design, were cutting edge to say the very least. There were also quite clearly abundant practical applications for the Roman aqueducts in Rome, Italy. Even as Rome’s population exceeded 1 million people around the year 120 AD, the aqueducts capably and efficiently supplied clean and potable drinking water not only to Rome itself, but also to a number of the large cities and small towns in the Empire, and other points of interest including mines and significant work sites. The history of Roman aqueducts sees a major decline in their use after a series of centuries and the fall of the Roman Empire. For years, however, these water delivery systems were the predominant way of supplying water to vast Empire and its manifold needs.

The Roman aqueducts stretched some 300 miles in the city of Rome, only about 29 miles were above ground. While the builders wanted to make sure that certain stretches of the Roman aqueducts in Rome were above ground to display their innovative and inspiring designs, building aqueducts underground also had its practical advantages, not the least of which was keeping the water clean and free from disease and bacteria. The history of Roman aqueducts is important to understand in order to truly grasp the way in which Rome was organized. Citizenship in the Roman Empire meant the advantages of advantages such as ready access to potable drinking water, certainly not something that could be said for many other, if any, places in the world at this point in history.

There were eleven major ancient Roman aqueducts that were constructed over the course of 500 years. Visitors of Rome are often startled at how large and extensive these constructions are when they see the aqueducts that are well maintained to this day. You can visit impressive aqueducts like Porta Maggiore, the Arch of Druses, and Nero's Aqueduct. What's amazing is that some of the aqueducts, if need be, could still be used. It doesn't cost any money to explore the extant aqueducts in Rome.

If you are visiting Rome, you will also have the ability to visit the remains of one of the major aqueducts just outside the city along the Appian Way. A number of tour providers including the Archeobus, carry travelers to sites along the Appian Way, starting within in the city at Piazza Venezia and visiting the Circus Maximus before heading out of the city. Along the Appian Way, you will have the option of stopping off wherever you want. More buses will come by and you can simply jump back on and continue on the tour. You can also rent bikes if you are interested in venturing off the beaten path. This is the best way to see ancient Roman aqueducts of Aqua Claudia and Anio Novus. By bike you would take the Via Appia Pignatelli to the remains of these last major Roman aqueducts in Rome. Construction of these aqueducts were started by Caligula in 36 AD and completed by Claudius in 50 AD. History shows that, at one time, the lower tube (Aqua Claudia), supplied nearly two-thirds of all the water going into Rome.

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Ancient Roman Aqueducts


Ancient Roman aqueducts are some of the most impressive architectural remnant...

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