Aqua Anio Vetus

Rome, Italy

The Aqua Anio Vetus was an ancient Roman aqueduct, and the second oldest after the Aqua Appia. It was commissioned in 272 BC and funded by treasures seized after the victory against Pyrrhus of Epirus. The aqueduct acquired the nickname of 'old' (vetus) only when the Anio Novus was built almost three centuries later.

Three major restorations were done along with the Appia aqueduct: in 144 BC by the praetor Quintus Marcius Rex during construction of the Aqua Marcia by adding a secondary conduit in the Casal Morena area; in 33 BC when Agrippa took control of the entire water system of the city; and between 11 and 4 BC by Augustus. With this latter, an underground branch was built, the specus Octavianus, which started from the current Pigneto area and followed the Via Casilina and reached the area where the Baths of Caracalla were later built.

Its construction was ambitious as it was four times as long as the Appia and its source much higher. It was clearly an engineering masterpiece, especially considering its early date and complexity of construction.


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Piazzale Sisto V 1, Rome, Italy
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Founded: 272 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

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