The Claudio Aqueduct – Rome - History and Facts | History Hit

The Claudio Aqueduct – Rome

Rome, Lazio, Italy

The Claudio Aqueduct is an Ancient Roman aqueduct which served Rome from 52 AD.

Peta Stamper

01 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Claudio Aqueduct – Rome

The Claudio Aqueduct or Acquedotto Claudio was an ancient Roman aqueduct, regarded as one of the four great aqueducts of Rome. Today, parts of the Claudio Aqueduct are fairly well preserved and can be seen within the Appia Antica Regional Park alongside the Felice Aqueduct.

The Claudio Aqueduct – Rome history

The Claudio Aqueduct was begun during the reign of the third Roman Emperor Caligula, in 38 AD. Caligula’s reign, from the available historical sources, was marked by the increase of the emperor’s personal powers and his decent into tyranny. Much of Caligula’s attention was focused on grand construction projects, including lavish homes for himself but also the Claudio Aqueduct.

In 41 BC, Caligula was assassinated in a conspiracy by the Praetorian Guard, senators and courtiers, attempting to restore the former republic. However, the Praetorians declared Caligula’s uncle, Claudius, as the next Roman emperor. It was under the reign of Claudius that the Claudio Aqueduct was completed in 52 AD, giving the aqueduct its name. The aqueduct was remarkable for bringing so much water to Rome, the water being distributed across the city, including to public baths and fountains.

On completion, the aqueduct ran from its mainsprings at the Caerulueus and Curtius predominantly underground for 41 miles. As the aqueduct neared the city, it was lifted up onto the arches, flowing through the Porta Maggiore, part of the 3rd century Aurelian Walls. It was constructed using a technique called ‘opus quadratum’ – blocks not uniform in size made out of volcanic stones.

Tacitus described how the aqueduct was still in use by 47 AD, and Vespasian suggested the Claudio Aqueduct went out of use for nine years before being repaired by Emperor Vespasian in 71 AD.

The Claudio Aqueduct – Rome today

Today, much of the Claudio Aqueduct is visible from railway lines and high windows, but to really appreciate its ancient splendour up close, travel to the Appia Antica Regional Park. From below you can time-travel to see how the above ground archways, built by more than 700 engineers of the imperial water service, maintained a continuous slope from the water’s source in the mountains to the gates of the city.

Getting to The Claudio Aqueduct – Rome

Along the MEA subway line, you can reach the Felice Aqueduct from the Giulio Agricola stop, a 650m walk away. Or you can get the 557 bus line to Anicio Gallo/Appio Claudio. If driving or getting a taxi, the aqueduct is along the Via Lemonia.

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