Wednesday 27 September 2023

Historical Aqueducts in the Bay of Naples

In Evidenza

by Ted O’Neill

The most important historical aqueduct system in the Bay of Naples was the Serino aqueduct built by M. V. Agrippa probably between 30 and 20 BC. during the reign of Octavian / Augustus which is why it was also called the Aqua Augusta Campaniæ.   The Serino aqueduct served ancient Naples, Pompeii, Baia and large water tanks in Porto Miseno.  The Piscina Mirabilis reservoir that served the Roman fleet at Misseno had a capacity of 12,600 m3.

The Aqua Augusta Campaniæ survived the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius and suffered little damage and burial by ash due because of the direction of the wind and because it was shielded by Mt. Somma.  However it didn’t fare so well during the next explosive eruption in AD 472 and was buried under a significant ash fall.

The aqueduct in the south of the Bay of Naples, bringing water from Agerola via Pimonte through two branches to the Reggia di Quisisana and the port of Castellammare was activated or re-activated by the workers and prisoners of King Carlo III of Spain when the growing port’s original water supply, the Fontana Grande became insufficient for the port’s needs.

It is believed that if the Agerola-Quisisana aqueduct was operational at the time, it would have survived both the AD 79 and AD 472 eruptions of Vesuvius.


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