The Aqueduct Park (Parco degli Acquedotti) is a huge park in the Appio Claudio district of Rome. As the name indicates, the main attraction of this park is the presence of some extremely well-preserved aqueducts.
Parco degli Acquedotti Rome
History and description
There are no fewer than seven different aqueducts that travel through the park. These are the Anio Vetus, the Anio Novus, the Aqua Marcia, the Tepula, the Iulia, the Aqua Claudia and the Acquedotto Felice.
The Felice Aqueduct, still working, is the most recently constructed of all Roman aqueducts. It was built in 1585, by Sixtus V, using the already existing arches of the Acquedotto Marcio.
Other archaeological finds in the area are the Villa delle Vignacce and the Casale di Roma Vecchia.
The Via del Quadraro can boast the tallest arches (almost 28 meters) of the Claudio Aqueduct, as well as a number of other finds, including a number of sepulchral monuments, a temple (or mausoleum), a small colombario, an inn with thermal baths and what is left of the basolato (a type of large tile made of volcanic rock, used to pave the streets in ancient Roman times) of the Via Latina. (At the moment these have not been dug up yet, and can therefore not be visited.)
The Casale di Roma Vecchia takes its name from the nearby Villa dei Sette Bassi. Since the area in which the ruins were found was quite extensive, in the 18th century it was thought that these were part to another ancient city similar to Rome. The Casale is a house with a tower in a strategic position on the Via Latina, between the Aqua Claudia and Aqua Marcia aqueducts, and is thought to be an 8th century stazione di posta (a precursor of a modern post office).
Along the Casale runs the Fosso dell’Acqua Mariana, a ditch that was built in 1120 by Calixtus II in order to transport the water of the aqueducts Acqua Tepula and Acqua Iulia into the city itself.
Next to the ditch a medieval (13th century) tower can be seen, which was built on top of a Roman cistern.
The tomba dei cento scalini or “tomb of the 100 steps” is located between the Claudio Aqueduct and the railway line to Cassino. In order to get to the sepulchral chamber one needs to descend 100 steps, hence the name. In some of the niches there are marble sarcophagi with sloping lids. Tunnels have been dug at a later date, probably to be used as catacombs.