Via del Nazareno
Why should a small, plain door in Via del Nazareno be surmounted by the coat of arms of Pope Sixtus IV?
Behind the door is part of the channel of an ancient Roman aqueduct, the Aqua Virgo, which Pope Sixtus IV (r. 1471-84) had repaired for the Holy Year of 1475. Three (mostly buried) arches of the aqueduct can be seen on the other side of the narrow street.
The Aqua Virgo was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa, general and son-in-law of the emperor Augustus, and completed in 19 BCE. The aqueduct was 13 miles long and mainly supplied water to a set of public baths that Agrippa had built near the Pantheon.
The Aqua Virgo, now the Acqua Vergine Antica, still provides some of Rome's water, including the water which flows into the Trevi Fountain.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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