thank you LW for planning this day and finding acquaducts to see

Al is obssessed with aqueducts

This park was not in ANY guide books, I found it on the internet and no one really knows about it including tourist office. What a shame, it's a beautiful park.

We Bonneys sure go on adventures on our vacation

Italy II: Sorrento and Rome

A Continued Essay on Ancient Water Distribution and the Affect Cycling Races May Have on Said Infrastructure


Pont du Gard aqueduct in France
If I was excited about the Roman Forum then I was out of my mind with anticipation for the day ahead! So far I had seen the Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct and one from the middle ages in Montpellier, and had been totally blown away. But this was the day that we were heading to Rome's aqueduct park on the southeast side of the city. Here is where many of the various aqueducts converged before they headed into Rome proper, and the remains of the Aqua Claudia and Novus (which ran on top of the Caludia) and Aqua Felice (built on the ruins of the Aqua Marcio) still remain! Oh boy oh boy oh boy!

wtf? WTF?!?
Onto the subway we climbed, and took it to the Subaugusta station. A walk of a couple blocks brings you to the beautiful and tranquil Parco Acquedotti... or it would have been of there wasn't a huge-ass Tour de Acquedotti bicycle race going on that very day. As we came upon the park we heard a booming voice coming over some loud speakers announcing teams and results, but to me it just sounded like he was mocking me at 120 dB! What the hell was going on?!? I had been looking forward to this day for YEAR! I wasn't even sure that I would get to this park, and now it was totally overrun with bicyclists, with barriers setup all through the park, and that voice! No matter where we walked, it just permeated our brains! Aaaarhghghg!

Aqua Claudia with Wife (with map)
I moved past it though, and concentrated on the task ahead. Lin-Wei had printed out a map of this park (along with a map of the park surrounding the ancient Appian Way (more on that tomorrow), and we planned on following the acqueducts back towards rome. The Claudia and Felice seemed to converge a couple of miles northwest of here, so our plan was to just follow the trail until we got back to the city.

We set off, darting across bicycle paths when it was clear of usurping racers, gazing up at two thousand year old waterways. You had to be impressed that the Roman's could support this type of infrastructure building. I was surprised again to see that the core of the aqueduct seemed to be brick with a stone facade, and you could see spots where it had been repaired over the years.

Section of the Aqua Claudia and our trail
The path we following was fairly well maintained...for a while. After twenty minutes or so it started to get a little rough, but still passable, so no worries. A little while later it seemed to take a right turn and head back to the entrance of the park, which seemed weird. There were two older Italian men there, and noticing our confusion, tried to guide us in the right direction, pointing back to where we had come from. But we had big plans that day to do some serious exploring, so with we gestured with questioned shrugs in the direction of the continuing aqueducts. The men returned our shrugs and seemed to nod agreement, but they laughed and said something in Italian... hmmm...

We still saw a couple guys jogging on this now fairly well overgrown trail, so we figured it was cool, and we continued on, taking pictures of feats of Roman engineering and enjoying the beautiful day.

That was cool for another ten minutes, until the trail aburptly ended in a six food wide, four foot deep concrete drainage ditch. "Eh...what?" we thought. The map didn't show any of this. As far as it was concerned we were good for quite a while yet. We had been walking along side some high-speed train tracks for a while up to this point, and there was a bridge over the ditch for the tracks. So, turn back since there was no obvious way to continue? Oh, hell no!

Here you can see where the aqueduct trail intersects the high-speed rail (orange fencing)
I first jumped up onto the otherside of the ditch and walked up to the train tracks, but there was think forest growth and no trail on our side. There was a small fence and the high-speed rail tracks to my left. As I pondered, a train flew by and I wondered what the train operator thought about seeing some dude just standing there by the tracks... Seeing this way blocked, I jumped back into the ditch and followed it under the tracks, hoping to see the trail pickup on the other side. But as soon as I rounded the corner I saw an extremely rundown shanty house at the edge of a farm field. I was out of there immediately.
Where we darted across. Ditch is below those railings
I then walked back to where Lin-Wei was and we decided to risk a crossing of the tracks. So picture the Bonneys clamoring over these metal bars, looking to and fro, and darting across train tracks that we obviously should not be darting across!! I was bummed I didn't get a picture of the ditch, but you can see the bars we had to climb over.

On this side of the tracks the trail continued (yay!) and we were off once again. Cursing our map but getting into the spirit of things, we pressed onward following the Aqua Claudia (which was to our right along with the tracks) and farm fields to our left. We arrived in a short while to a clearing, where the tracks disappered into the woods on our right, and it appeared that there was nothing but farms to our left...
End of the line?
Lin-Wei saw a path at 11 O'clock out of this clearing, but that turned out to be a bust. I saw a path at 3 O'clock in the direction of the tracks, but that turned out to be better. It continued into the woods for a bit, and came out to where the Aqua Felice crossed our path! Hurray! But... um... all around under the arches of this aqueduct were signs of recent habitation by homeless people, and as we were in the absolute middle of nowhere, with tracks on our right, farms on our left, you could say I was a little nervous. Not too nervous as to not get some pictures by the aqueduct, but nervous nonetheless.

The Aqua Felice
But hark! In the distance we could hear traffic, and the sounds of kids playing. So my heart began to fill with hope that we might make it out of here alive. Continuing on, we came to a another bridge, but this time it was for car traffic! Ah ha, a road! But this time there would be no climbing over the wall. As we climbed the small hill to where the road was, we were totally cut off by a solid fence that was probably 15 feet high. To our right we saw an exit from our nature area ,but there were 4-5 caravan campers parked there, with people moving around. We didn't really want to walk into the middle of their living quarters, but... continuing on under the roadway bridge all we saw was more homeless evidence. So rather than brave more unknown we just decided to suck it up.

Our glorious exit. Damn, that was surreal!
There was some dude sitting on an overturned bucket in front of his caravan, and as we squeezed through a break in the sidewalk fence he was rather surprised when we walked by and gave him a "Buongiorno!" But we just kept moving without looking back.

The next order of business was to get back to the subway. Again with went with the map which told us to cross the street and head down a small road back into the woods. But that way ended with a "proprietÓ privata" sign, and even we knew what that meant. Turning around and coming back to the bridge we saw an old man walking, so we asked him in broken Italianish about the metro, and the dude pointed down the road with the private property sign! We looked confused and questioned, "Privata? Privata?" and he shook his head no, no, signing that it was ok. Um, yeah.. We had had enough so we walked down the major road until we saw familiar road markers and took that back to the subway... and then the subway broke down. There was an announcement in Italian and everyone around us started sighing and muttering, and they all filed off the train. Aw, crap... They all got in line for the bus, but we decided to hoof it back to our hotel.

Crowd of people waiting for the bus after the subway broke down
Whew. But guess what? It was only lunch time! We took a break, had some lunch, and walked down to a tourist info center near our hotel to find out how to get to the Villa Quintilii. You see, Lin-Wei had a grand plan to somehow get to the Villa Quintilii, which was 8km outside of Rome, and walk back along the ancient Appian Way, but we had no idea how to get out there, especially since we'd be doing this on a Sunday. So at the tourist office she explained her plan, and they kept telling her that it was too busy and very unsafe to walk along the appia nuova! Lin-Wei tried to explain that we were going to walk the pedestrian-only ancient appia, but they must have considered that incomprehensible, so we left there with no info.

Exploring modern Rome? Yeah right...

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