One of the most incredible, but rarely visited sites in Rome, is Aqueduct Park (Parco degli acquedotti). The park actually hosts seven Roman aqueducts: Marcio, Anio Novus, Tepula, Mariana, Claudio, Iulia and Felice. These aqueducts took advantage of the natural hills of the area to bring water into the city.
The Aqua Claudio reached a height of 28 meters. It was built around 52 D and named after the emperor Claudio who inaugurated it. This aqueduct was also nicknamed “magnificentissimus” due to the excellent quality of the water provided!
By far the Aqua Claudio is the most impressive and the one you want to see! On top of the Aqua Claudio ran the Anio Novus. The Aqua Mariana is a ditch that you will only find if you are looking for it (and know exactly WHERE to look). It carried the water of the Aqua Iulia and the Aqua Tepula. With the exception of this ditch, nothing can be really be seen of these three. The Aqua Marcio has largely vanished. Most of its length as you got closer to Rome was replaced by the “newer” Aqua Felice of Pope Sixtus V. As you walk near the aqueducts you will see the ruins of several villas. Wear comfortable shoes, take plenty of water… and even a picnic lunch!
How to Get to the Aqueduct Park
Click Here to view in a larger map. Use the “+” or “-” symbols on the map to zoom in and out. If you download – or zoom out on this map – you’ll see many other sites and bus routes along the Appian Way.
There are many different ways to get to the Aqueduct Park. Using public transportation we found this to be the best (and easiest) travel route. You can take the Metro Line A towards Anagnina and get off at either the Giulio Agricola Metro Stop or the Subaugusta Metro Stop. We prefer the Giulio Agricola stop (#1 on the map above) because by walking this way you can see some of the newer – circa 1500’s – restored, covered aqueducts. Below you see a Metro Line A route map with the Giulio Agricola metro stop circled in blue. Below the map is a picture of one of the entrance/exit for the Giulio Agricola metro stop.
You’ll exit the Giulio Agricola Metro Station at the intersection of Via Tuscolana and Viale Giulio Agricola. In the picture above, you’ll want to head down the street, Viale Giulio Agricola. It is the road behind the young lady in the crosswalk. As you walk, you’ll see that you’re in a residential area, dominated by large apartment buildings.
When you leave the Giulio Agricola Metro Station, turn southeast on Viale Giulio Agricola and head four blocks until it dead-ends into Via Lemonia. It’s a “short” four-block walk. On the above map, this route is marked by the blue line between #’s (1) and (2). Zoom in on the map for a closer view.
When you get to the end of Viale Giulio Agricola you will see this huge church. This is the #2 marker on the map above. Turn LEFT onto Via Lemonia if you want to head to Acquetto Claudio. Behind this church you will see the “new” Acquetto Felice (circa 1500’s). You can walk over and take a look – or to see the more ancient ruins, go LEFT and keep walking down Via Lemonia.
As you walk down Via Lemonia, you will see a park area on your right, and apartment buildings on your left. The ruins of the “new” Aqua Felice (1500’s) will be on your right, and as you get farther down Via Lemonia you will start to see more ancient aqueduct ruins. As you near the end of Via Lemonia – the “path” denoted by the blue line between #’s (2) and (3) on the map above – you’ll see the aqueducts in the distance. In the first picture below, the aqueducts of the Acquetto Claudio are circled in red. At the end of the street, the road bends to the left, and the aqueducts will be on your right. In front of you stretches an unending and incredible view of the ancient aqueducts. Here you can easily see the ruins of the impressive Aqua Claudio.
Once you get to the park, you can walk right up to these incredible aqueducts. They seem to stretch on forever.
Here, you’re close to the Appian Way and it does not even feel like you’re in a city of almost 3 million people!
As you can see, there are trails on either side of the Aqueducts. You’ll find folks walking, jogging, kicking a soccer ball, or riding their bikes alongside these ancient ruins.
For many folks, it’s just a place to go have a picnic. We’re here with friends on a Sunday afternoon doing just that.
It’s so quiet out here. In the distance you can see the city. In fact, you’re near the flight path of Ciampino Airport and you’ll see planes landing every few minutes. In another direction, you can look and see the trains running on the tracks a couple of miles away. There’s even a small golf course adjacent to the Aqueducts. Despite all these “modern distractions in the distance, it’s still incredibly quiet and serene…. quite a unique spot in the middle of Rome!
For more information, an excellent book on the aqueducts is “Guide to the Aqueducts of Ancient Rome” by Peter J. Aicher. The
For a larger version, Click on the map above, or download the map by clicking here!
The Appian Way from Aqueduct Park
Getting to the Appian Way from the Aqueduct Park is not the easiest journey. If you start walking you’ll probably need a compass, GPS, or a good sense of direction. On the map below, the path to the Appian Way is the marked by the blue line between #’s (4) and (5). You can hike this route or you can head back towards the Via Tuscalona, ride the metro to the Colli Albani station, and then catch the 660 bus. This might actually take LESS time!
Here’s a map of the walking route. Perhaps the most direct route would be the blue-lined route on the map. You’re still far east of the “busier” parts of the Appian Way.
Here’s the same map – as we “zoom out.” Now you can see bus stops and other sites (like the Catacombs).. USe the “+” keys and your mouse to maneuver around this map!
If you go walking…. here’s a look at the road you connect to at #4 on the map:
So if you take off walking, use your GPS or compass… and Good Luck!
Header: Aqueduct Park – Photo by Gothic666
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