The Parco degli Acquedotti, a large park (280 hectares) that is situated to the south-east of Rome, is named after the aqueducts that run through it, such as the Aqua Marcia, the Aqua Claudia and the Aqua Felice.
Ancient Rome was served by a total of 11 aqueducts, which were built over a period of 500 years, between 312 BCE and 226 CE. Their combined capacity was capable of supplying at least 1,127,000 cubic metres (300 million gallons) of water to the city each day. Aqueducts moved water through gravity alone. Channels were mostly underground; arches were only used to transport the water over low-lying areas.
Detailed statistics for the aqueducts were compiled around 97 CE by Sextus Julius Frontinus (c.40-103), the curator aquarum (superintendent of the aqueducts) during the reign of the emperor Nerva (r. 96-98).
List of Aqueducts:
Aqua Appia (312 BCE): 16.5 km (10 m).
Aqua Anio Vetus (272-268 BCE): 64 km (40 m).
Aqua Marcia (144-140 BCE): 91 km (56 m).
Aqua Tepula (125 BCE): 18 km (11 m).
Aqua Julia (33 BCE): 22 km (14 m).
Aqua Virgo (19 BCE): 21 km (13 m).
Aqua Alsietina (2 BCE?): 33 km (20 m).
Aqua Anio Novus (38-52 CE): 87 km (54 m).
Aqua Claudia (38-52 CE); 69 km (43 m).
Aqua Traiana (109 CE): 33 km (20 m).
Aqua Alexandrina (226 CE): 22 km (14 m).
The Aqua Felice was built by Giovanni Fontana (1540-1614) at the behest of Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585-90), who was born Felice Peretti. It was the first new aqueduct to be erected in Rome since the days of antiquity. Its length is 24 km (15 miles) and it runs underground for 13 km (8 miles). Above ground it uses some of the arches of both the Aqua Claudia and the Aqua Marcia. Its terminus is at the Fontana dell'Acqua Felice.
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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