The Roman aqueduct "Aqua Augusta" is now more commonly known as the Serino Aqueduct (L’Acquedotto Augusteo Serino). The beginnings of aqueducts in this region may or may not be of Roman origin. However, the Romans did take the concept of the aqueduct in the area to new heights.

First, a bit of history: the area now known as Naples was essentially a playground for the elite of Rome. The bay of Naples housed an imperial fleet, and the surrounding area was inhabited by the very wealthy of the empire. Given the beauty of the landscape, even to this day, the attraction to the land is understandable. Prior to its status as a posh Roman city, Naples started as the Greek colony Neapolis meaning-"New City"

With the expansion of the city from a Greek colony to a Roman city after its acquisition, it follows that the need for water needed to be greatly improved. The Romans brought additional water to the region via the Aqua Augusta (or the Serino Aqueduct). Its source was the Terminio- Tuoro mountains, just outside of Avellino. The aqueduct spanned 100kms and serviced Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum. The city was first supplied by the Bolla Aqueduct.

While very little 'working' parts remain of the orginal Aqua Augusta, the above cistern is very much intact. The cistern, Piscina Mirabilis, was the end point of the Aqua Augusta. It is believed that the reason for its vastness wasn't only to ensure clean drinking water for the area's inahbitants, but to also provide for the imperial fleet stationed nearby.

In modern times, there have been two major upgrades to the system: one was an addition made in the 1600s and the other followed Italian unification. The addition made in the 1600s was engineered by Cesare Carmignano, for whom the addition is named. The second addition was made after unification during an outbreak of Cholera in the Naples region in the late 1800s.

Finally, and just food for thought, theaqueduct system was vital to the region's survival during World War II. .

This article is part of an evolving ItalianAware series on Roman Aqueducts. 

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