Waters of Rome

Aquae Urbis Romae is an interactive cartographic history of the relationships between hydrological and hydraulic systems and their impact on the urban development of Rome, Italy. Our study begins in 753 BC and will ultimately extend to the present day. Aquae Urbis Romae examines the intersections between natural hydrological elements including springs, rain, streams, marshes, and the Tiber River, and constructed hydraulic elements including aqueducts, fountains, sewers, bridges, conduits, etc., that together create the water infrastructure system of Rome.

The long term goals of this project are to increase understanding of the profound relationships that exist between water systems, cultural practice, and urbanism in Rome, and by its example, in all cities, landscapes, and environments. It is hoped that this study will foster work by other scholars and designers who are interested in exploring the ways in which water infrastructure can be exploited toward the future development of humane, ecologically responsible, and engaging civic environments. This is expecially important as our world faces both critical water shortages and rising sea levels due to climate change.


This project is made possible in part by funding from The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, The Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Fulbright Commission, The Prince Charitable Trusts, The John Anson Kittredge Educational Trust, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. We have added GIS data to Aquae Urbis Romae and will add new features to the map and database on a regular basis. Funding for this important GIS work was made possible with a 2005-2007 Collaborative Research Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. As always, this is a work in progress and we welcome comments, suggestions, and advice.

Published by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia. Project Director, Katherine Wentworth Rinne. Copyright 1998-2016.