Acqua Marcia - History and Facts | History Hit

Acqua Marcia

Rome, Lazio, Italy

Acqua Marcia is an ancient aqueduct of Rome built in the first century BC.

About Acqua Marcia

The Acqua Marcia is one of seven of Rome’s aqueducts which are located within the Appia Antica Regional Park. Built between 44 and 42 BC, significant stretches of this ancient aqueduct, with its monumental arches and brickwork, can still be seen today. However, in its current state it is far removed from its original glory, with much of the site having been destroyed during the construction of the Felice Aqueduct.

One of the most popular ways to view the Acqua Marcia is by bicycle, rented from the Appia Antica Regional Park.

History of Acqua Marcia

For around 90 years, the aqueducts Aqua Appia and the Anio Vetus satisfied Rome’s population. However, military success against Carthage and Macedonia meant that Rome’s population was growing, and combined with the aqueducts leaking and many citizens stealing water for their own use and thereby depriving the city of its supply, it became clear that another water supply was urgently needed.

The Aqua Marcia was constructed by and named after Quintus Marcius Rex (an ancestor of Julius Caesar) from 144 to 140 BC. It was largely paid for by the spoils from recent Roman conquests of Corinth and the end of the Third Punic War, both in 146 BC.

Acqua Marcia – which was noted for its cold and pure waters – followed the ancient road via Tiburtina into Rome, and entered the city in its eastern boundary at the Porta Tiburtina of the Aurelian Wall.

It was repaired by Marcus Agrippa in 33 BC, and then again later by Augustus, who augmented the supply by linking it to other sources.

By the time Emperor Nero was in power, the supply had dwindled to a trickle due to citizens siphoning it off for their own personal use. However, later emperors increased the supply, transforming it into the second greatest supply of the city’s water.

Acqua Marcia Today

Today, only ruins of Acqua Marcia remain, though are extensive. One of the main ways to visit some ruins of Acqua Marcia are via the Acqueduct Park, which contains the ruins of the more recent and complete Acqua Felice (1500s), as well as the ruins of Acqua Marcia and Acqua Claudia. There is also a park among the ruins which is often used for recreation by locals and visitors alike.

The ruins are also prominent at the Appia Antica Regional Park, with full details available on our website here.

Getting to Acqua Marcia

Ruins of Acqua Marcia at the Aqueduct Park are easily reachable by the Metro, with Metro Line A to Lucio Sestio followed by a short walk likely being the most convenient way to see the ruins. The ruins are a 15-20 minute drive from the centre of Rome via Via Tuscolana, or a 1 hour 45 minute walk.

Similarly, it is possible to see the ruins at Appia Antica Regional Park, with full travel details available on our website.