Water Reservoir Via Eleniana Rome

In 1925, when the city of Rome decided to reorganize its water system networks the architect Raffaele de Vico was asked to construct a new reservoir in the Via Eleniana in the Esquilino neighborhood. Two years earlier, De Vico had already designed a similar construction in the Villa Borghese. This project was never carried out, but a later one was. The entire construction was competed in 1933.

Water reservoir Via Eleniana Rome


Water reservoir Via Eleniana
Water reservoir Via Eleniana

De Vico‘s first design was bigger than the present building. It was based on the ruins of the nearby Claudia Aqueduct. The main facade was characterized by seven arches framed by tuff stone bands. The short sides of the building had three arches.

In the end, the building turned out much smaller. First, the actual water system was constructed. This consisted of four cylindrical tanks of 2,000 m3, each one resting on five reinforced concrete pillars. The cisterns, two for drinking water and two for watering the nearby parks, reach a height of 23 meters.

The final architecture of the building itself is similar to the original one, except that it is much smaller. It is cubic in shape, and the facade only has three arches.

The facade is divided into three sections. The material used is mostly tuff stone.

The side bands each contain two small round windows. These are a reference to the nearby tomb of Marcus Virgilius Eurisaces (better known as the “Baker’s Tomb”), just outside the Porta Maggiore.

The fountain built in a niche in the facade is decorated with shells and intricate plant motifs.

Fountain Via Eleniana water reservoir.

The inscription above the tympanum (SPQR ANNO MCMXXXIIII) used to have another one (E F XII, indicating that the building was constructed in the 7th year of the fascist era) next to it.

Inside the building, a large staircase leads to the attic and another, hexagonal one leads to the tanks.

Building the reservoir had been necessary to get water to the Appio Latino, Tuscolano, Prenestino-Labicano, and Tiburtino neighborhoods. These quartieri had been created during a bureaucratic reorganization of the city in 1921.

Practical information

Opening hours and admission

The building is not open for visitors.

Address and public transportation

The address of the Serbatoio Idrico di Via Eleniana is Via Eleniana, 1 – Rome. Public transportation: Bus : 3NAV, n3s (stop Eleniana/Labicano); tram: 5, 14 (Labicano/Porta Maggiore).

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