Acqua Vergine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The still-functioning entrance to the inspection duct of the Acqua Vergine, at Via del Nazareno.

Acqua Vergine is one of the several aqueducts that serve the city of Rome, in Italy, with pure drinking water. The name derives from the name of its predecessor, Aqua Virgo, which was constructed by Marcus Agrippa in 19 BC, terminating at its castellum at the Baths of Agrippa, and, through a network of conduits, serving the vicinity in the Campus Martius. In an effort to restore fresh water to Rome during the Renaissance, Pope Nicholas V, in 1453, renovated the main channels of the Aqua Virgo[1] and added numerous secondary conduits under Campo Marzio. The original terminus, called a mostra, which means showpiece, was the stately, dignified wall fountain designed by Leon-Battista Alberti[1][2] in Piazza dei Crociferi. Due to several additions and modifications to the end-most points of the conduits during the years that followed, during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the Acqua Vergine culminated in several magnificent mostre - the Trevi Fountain[1] and the fountains of Piazza del Popolo.

Courses[edit]

Beginning as rainwater falling on the Alban Hills to the east of Rome, then percolating through miles of volcanic tuff, the water springs forth in marshland approximately eight miles to the east of Rome off Via Collatina, in a small town called Salone. From the same source, but running different courses, two separate aqueducts, in fact, emerge:

  • Acqua Vergine Antica, which travels underground through some of the same channels constructed by Agrippa's engineers, proceeds into Rome on the northeast under Via di Pietralata, at a point formerly called Fosso Pietralata, crosses Via Nomentana, flows westward toward and through the park of Villa Ada, passes under the western limits of the Villa Borghese, traverses the gardens of Villa Medici, descends the Pincio to Piazza di Spagna, extends under Renaissance Rome to burst forth into the Roman sky in the spectacular, baroque mostra on the Quirinal Hill, the fountain of Trevi.
  • Acqua Vergine Nuova, which travels into Rome from the northeast under Via Tiburtina, flows under the Pincio to Porta Pinciana, where it branches into 2 channels:
    • one passes southwest to link up, but not mingle, with Acqua Vergine Antica just behind Piazza di Spagna and descends the Pincio to emit its water through the fine, elegant sprays of its regal mostra, the lions of Piazza del Popolo
    • one passes northwest under Galoppatoio, curves through the Borghese Gardens, makes a sharp southerly turn toward Piazzale Flaminio to make its triumphant appearance in the triple-arch mostra cascading on the western slopes of the Pincio overlooking Piazza del Popolo.

Termini[edit]

Today, as in days of old, the Acqua Vergine is regarded to furnish some of the purest drinking-water in Rome, reputed for its restorative qualities. Many people to this day can be seen filling containers for drinking and cooking in its splendid fountains, including:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Gross, Hanns (1990). Rome in the Age of Enlightenment: the Post-Tridentine syndrome and the ancien regime. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-521-37211-9. 
  2. ^ Tavernor, Robert (1998). On Alberti and the art of building. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 15. ISBN 0-300-07615-0. 

External links[edit]