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The Aqua Virgo was one of the 11 aqueducts that supplied the city of ancient Romemarker. The aqueduct fell into disuse with the fall of the Roman Empire, but was fully restored nearly a whole millennium later during the Renaissance to take its current form as the Acqua Vergine.

The Aqua Virgo was completed in 19 BC by Marcus Agrippa, during the reign of the emperor Augustus. Its source is along the 8th milestone of the Via Collatina, about 3 km from the Via Praenestina. According to a legend repeated by Frontinus, thirsty Roman soldiers asked a young girl for water. She directed them to the springs that later supplied the aqueduct. The source was named the Aqua Virgo after her.

Along its more-than-20 km length, the aqueduct dropped only 4 m to reach Rome in the center of the Campus Martius. At its height, the aqueduct was capable of supplying more than 100,000 cubic meters of water every day. The aqueduct ran underground for nearly all of its length. In 537, the Goths besieging Rome tried to use this underground channel as a secret route to invade Rome, according to Procopius.

After deteriorating with the fall of the Roman Empire, Aqua Virgo was repaired by Pope Adrian I in the 8th century. Following a complete restoration and extensive remodeling from its source to its terminus points from the Pincio to the Quirinalemarker and within Campo Marziomarker, in 1453, Pope Nicholas V consecrated it Acqua Vergine.

Places to view the aqueduct in Rome

The Aqua Virgo (Acqua Virgine) can be seen in the following positions:

1. At its source, at the junction of via Salone and via Collatina south of the Casale di Salone.

2. Along the route of the antique via Collatina, where 'pozzi' (vents) are visible in various places.

3. Behind the new Palmiro Togliati Station along the 'via Collatina Vecchia'.

4. Arches along via Pietralata at the north end near Roma Nomentana Station.

5. Under the Catacombes where the aqueduct flows under villa Adamarker.

6. At the end of a staircase under villa Ada.

7. In an inscription in vicolo San Filippo Martire where the aqueduct exits villa Ada.

8. Under the villa Giuliamarker Etruscan Museummarker.

9. Below various spiral staircases in the 'Villa Borghesemarker' Park.

10. At the bottom of the 'Chiocciola del Pincio' - the 'Snail of the pincio' - the spiral staircase in the grounds of villa Medicimarker.

11. At the bottom of the ramp at the side of the Spanish Stepsmarker.

12. The entry to the Metro at the end of viccolo del Bottino, which was once the aqueduct's settling tank.

13. The Fontana di Trevimarker, which shows the aqueduct's water.

On 13 June 2007, it was damaged by construction work for a garage, interrupting the flow of water to some Roman fountains for several days.

External links

See also

Ancient Roman technology#aqueducts


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