The Aqua Traiana/Aqua Paola and Their Effects on the Urban Fabric of Rome

Mess, Carolyn, Architectural History - School of Architecture, University of Virginia
Brothers, Cammy, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
Dobbins, John, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Crane, Sheila, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia

Infrastructure has always played an important role in urban planning, though the focus of urban form is often the road system and the water system is only secondary. This is a misconception as often times the hydraulic infrastructure determined where roads were placed. Architectural structures were built where easily accessible potable water was found. People established towns and cities around water, like coasts, riverbanks, and natural springs. This study isolates two aqueducts, the Aqua Traiana and its Renaissance counterpart, the Aqua Paola. Both of these aqueducts were exceptional feats of engineering in their planning, building techniques, and functionality; however, by the end of their construction, they symbolized more than their outward utilitarian architecture. Within their given time periods, these aqueducts impacted an entire region of Rome that had twice been cut off from the rest of the city because of its lack of a water supply and its remote location across the Tiber. The Aqua Traiana and Aqua Paola completely transformed this area by improving residents’ hygiene, building up an industrial district, and beautifying the area of Trastevere. This study will analyze the spatial, aesthetic, social, political, and economic transformations that took place around the construction of the aqueducts.

MARH (Master of Architectural History)
Aqua Paola, Rome, Aqua Traiana, Trastevere, water infrastructure, aqueduct
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