My husband is from Rome, so I get to spend a lot of time there. What a fab place to “have to” return to a few times a year. Rome has a never-ending list of things to see: art, monuments, churches, etc….but there is one place we go to EVERY time we are there that is somewhat lesser known to tourists. It is the Parco degli Acquedotti – The Aqueduct Park. This park is part of the Appia Antica Park and contains aqueducts dating back as far as 52AD.
Nothing reflects the power or ingenuity of ancient Rome like the aqueducts. These structures transported water to the city center bringing about new standards of sanitation by providing sewage systems, public bathrooms and running water to the residents of Rome. In addition to this civilized way of living, the aqueducts also afforded the Romans a certain privileged style of life that included luxurious public baths and decorative fountains.
At this park you will find, Aqua Claudia, started by Caligula and completed by Claudius in 52AD. This structure stands 90 feet high and was responsible for delivering water to 14 districts in Rome. Can you imagine this going on over 2000 years ago?
In addition to the aqueducts of antiquity, you will also find more recent structures such as Aqua Felice, completed in 1586.
Accompanying the aqueducts are also the ruins of Villa delle Vignacce – Villa of the Vineyards. (Love the name!) This villa is believed to have belonged to a wealthy Roman and built around the 2nd century AD. Excavations continue and in 2006 it was revealed that this complex contained elaborate baths and heating systems. Archaeologists continue to find artifacts including well-preserved statues and other sculptures from antiquity.
Apart from sightseeing, I like to go running (ok…jogging) at this park. So much inspiration! Seriously, who is not going to have their best run ever in this environment? In fact, if you are a runner, I would suggest bringing your running shoes. If you are NOT a runner, you might want to bring a few snacks and a bottle of wine and you can relax and take in the view of sheep grazing in the pastures under the aqueducts. HOW PICTURESQUE! And if you happen to be in Rome in May or June, you can catch the poppies in full bloom.
This park is large and the facilities are limited – so make sure you go prepared making a pit stop before you arrive and bringing water if you are there during the summer.
This park is located about 5 miles from the Colosseum and can be reached by metro and a half mile walk. Keep in mind this park is located in a working-class neighborhood. The surrounding area will not resemble the city center from an aesthetic perspective, but, it will give you a glimpse into the daily life of resident Romans.
How to get there: Take the Metro line A in the direction of Anagnina, get off at the Giulio Agricola stop. Exit the Metro onto Giulio Agricola and head towards via Tuscolana (a main shopping street). Continue onto Piazza Aruleno Celio Sabino, turn left onto Via Lemonia. See the map below for indications.
Poppies: Carlo Corridori