The water supply problem in the city of Pompeii was solved by different means.

Initially, the rainwater was collected in basins placed in the gardens or through the private impluvium of the domus. In periods of drought was also used water from public wells dug in the bank of lava and tuff, which reached the water table below the depth of over 30m. A total of 5 wells have been found for the precise operation which can only make guesses. Probably a hydraulic wheel, actuated manually or with the help of animals, represented the collection system.

The water supply system was upgraded with the construction of the aqueduct by the Emperor Augustus. This spectacular feat of hydraulic engineering was fueled by sources Serino in Irpinia, and brought plenty of water to the main towns of Campania, with through underground ducts, bridges and canals, which included all the plain Sarno, Palma Campania, Naples and Pozzuoli, Piscina Mirabilis to the famous Cape Misenum.

A branch of the aqueduct from Palma Campania came to Pompeii near the Porta Vesuvio, where was built the Castellum Acquae, a collector starting again the water in three directions for food throughout the city. It was a quadrangular building in brick with the entrance on the east side. Inside, lit by two slits, there is a circular basin and a channel on top of which is still a fresco with a river god and three nymphs, to remember the sacred nature of the waterways. A system of valves limited the water pressure before conveying it in different directions through the pipes of the pipeline.

It is unclear if the aqueduct is operating at the time of the eruption. Maybe it was knocked out for the damages suffered by the earthquake of 62 AD. C., as documented by a relief of the home lararium of L. Caecilius Secundus in which it appears the Castellum Acquae damaged. While, the absence of pipe may be adduced to a bare next.

Located in the city were also other castles, to the crossroads in general, smaller. They consisted, in general, by high brick pillars with a fistula leading into the water on top and distributed through smaller fistulas, the thermal baths, the richest households and public fountains. The fountains were composed of a rectangular basin formed by four large stone orthostats of whose edges are often the traces of corrosion produced by the bowls, and a stone decorated with sculptures and bas-reliefs, generally, of the gods.

The pipes were in the lead, ran under the sidewalks and are still visible in various parts of the ancient Vesuvian cities. The use of lead was widespread in Roman times, but no one knew what was harmful to health. Most exposed to intoxication were the richest, who are estimated to absorb about 250 mg of lead per day. In fact, it was also used to sweeten the wine, in the composition of cosmetic products and to build pottery and cookware.

castellum acquae in Pompeii

Roman lead pipes in Pompeii


Pompeii Tour guide - Herculaneum Tour guide - Stabiae Tour guide - Oplontis Tour guide - Naples Tour guide

Amalfi Coast - Sorrento - Positano - Paestum  Tour guide - Capua Amphitheater - Procida - Ischia - Capri

Copyright © - E-mail: