Aqueducts Revisited

October 7, 2008 / Local Interest
While sitting around the pool of their Roman villa, Fulvio turns to his wife Quintilla and asks, “Now that I paid handsomely to have water pumped directly to our villa, I suppose you’ll want to show off next week when Augusto and Domitilla come for pranzo…”

How did Romans get their water, anyway? Well, as early as 312 BC, water was fed through miles of aqueducts, simple channels bored through the soft Roman tufa stone for most of their length, leading from the water intake in the hills almost to the distribution cisterns in Rome.

In its final stretches, conduit was raised on arches to give sufficient headroom for the distribution of the water within the city. For the general public, an enormous amount of water was available through a network of public fountains, which were located at crossroads throughout the city, never more than 100 meters apart.

Although part of Ancient Rome’s water was for the emperor’s use, part of it was also sold to rich citizens, who – for a price – could have it piped to their private villas.

Perhaps Fulvio also shook his head and turned to Quintilla, “What will you expect next … indoor plumbing?”

Evanne Brandon-Diner

by Evanne Brandon-Diner

Chronicler of local village life in Northern Lazio, and property restoration and purchasing consultant.

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