Acqua Paola Aqueduct Rome (or Acqua Trainana Aqueduct)

The Acqua Paola Aqueduct in Rome is also known as Acqua Traiana. Its source is located near Lake Bracciano and it entered Rome at the Porta San Pancrazio. The Fontana dell’Acqua Paola is the great showpiece fountain of this aqueduct.

Acqua Paola Aqueduct Rome

History and description

Acqua Paola Aqueduct Rome
Acquedotto Paolo

The Acqua Traiana (Aqueduct of Traianus), as its name suggests, was built by Emperor Traianus. The monument was consecrated on June 24 of the year 109. It is more than 32 kilometers long. After being destroyed, it was restored by Pope Paul V in the Middle Ages and from then on it was called the Acqua Paola.

The source of the Aqueduct of Traianus is located near Lake Bracciano, which is very popular with Dutch tourists. It entered Rome at the Porta San Pancrazio on the Gianicolo hill. The supply of water was necessary to keep the water mills of Trastevere running.

In 537, part of the aqueduct was destroyed by the Ostrogoths and the mills could no longer function. It was not until the beginning of the 17th century that they managed to restore and reopen the aqueduct, including building an arch over the Via Aurelia. This was commissioned by Pope Paul V Borghese.

This arch, made of travertine marble, came to be known as the Arco di Tiradiavoli (“the Arch of the Devil’s Mites”), since the stretch of street where it stood was then known as the Via di Tiradiavoli.

The inscription on the arch indicates that the pope did not quite know what he was doing. AB- AVG- CAES- EXTRUCTOS refers to Augustus as the original builder of the aqueduct. This means that the pope probably thought he was restoring the Acqua Alsietina Aqueduct and not the Acqua Traiano.

After the restoration, the aqueduct continued to go through life as the Aqua Paola Aqueduct. The monumental fountain at the end of the conduit was also called the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola.

Acqua Paola Fountain, Rome

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