Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 29, 2011

It’s not Roman!!!

Every time we travel on the autostrada to and from lovely Lucca we pass the Nottolini aqueduct. I have wanted to find where it goes to in Lucca for years.

I decided it had to be near the train station, so I went there and asked a knowledgeable looking gentleman where it was. He told me to go through the underpass to the other side of the tracks, turn left and then take the first street to the right and I would find it. I did.


I first came to the cistern of San Concordio, where the aqueduct ends. Water was drawn from several springs on the northern slope of Mount Pisano and travelled along 3 kilometres of aqueduct to the cistern.


It is cut in 2 by the autosrada, but that is not the only road that goes through the aqueduct.


The city of Lucca has grown outside the walls and the aqueduct is surrounded by houses for some of its length. As I walked further along beside it the houses were left behind and the walk became quite lovely.








People still collect water from several taps along the way.


It is constructed from bricks and stone.


It was designed by Lorenzo Nottolini and work began in 1823 and was completed in 1851 – sorry to disappoint those who thought it was of Roman origin.


It is well worth taking the time to find the aqueduct and walking for a while beside it, even if it is not 2,000 years old.


  1. the benefits of speaking Italian

    • It is certainly quite useful sometimes.

  2. Beautiful photographs – the light is amazing. Funny, I just wrote about water movement of the Romans yesterday. Great minds think alike? Toni

    • I had a look at your post. I love it! I have signed up. I also love Orvieto.

      • Thanks Debra, I will sign up for yours as well. Keep ’em coming. 🙂 toni

      • I never run out of stuff to talk about.

  3. Thanks. I like the look of this, have often noticed it driving by. Can you walk the whole length of it?

    • Yes, you can walk or cycle to the Nottolini park I described in my comment below. There’s a footbridge over the autostrada. It’s only about 5 km.

    • A couple of commenters have answered this excellent question.

  4. Debra, your next trip should be to the other end, Nottolini Park, where underground channels collect the water from the spring and beautiful open stone and brick canals carry the excess water through a landscaped park dotted with neoclassical ‘temples’, smaller versions of the one you photographed. I often take people there on my tours for a picnic. In fact, the aqueduct no longer carries water along the top. When they destroyed several arches to build the autostrada, they put the water in a pipe underground. The water still feeds the fountains of Lucca, several also created by Nottolini. The reason it tastes so good is because the water is purified by ultraviolet light instead of chlorine. Halfway between Lucca and the park is a restaurant, Casina delle Rose, tucked almost under the arches, where you can have a workers’ lunch for €10. Nottolini was a prolific engineer-architect; he also built the chain bridge at Fornoli and I think he designed the casino opposite your flat, but you’d better check on that one.

  5. I love the Aqueduct, but Rafael loves it even more because of his profound admiration for Lorenzo Nottolini, the architect-engineer (he held the two degrees) who designed it. Nottolini had a brilliant career and he worked for both the Bonapartes and the Borbones and was appointed “Royal Architect”. He was responsible for the current “Anfiteatro” and, closer to us, the wonderful “Ponte delle Catene” at Fornoli.
    In Lucca, the street behind the railway station in San Concordio is named after him.
    Rafael keeps on telling me all the stories related to his work and you know… “once an architect, always an architect”. His mind has not retired… as yet. And I further think that architect’s wives should get an honorary degree for putting up with so much torture… Just kidding!
    Great photos! Rafael says that you should have studied architecture, as you have “the eye of an architect”. He particularly likes your pics of bridges.

    • Please thank Raphael for his kind comments. I am the daughter and granddaughter of builders.

  6. Roman or not, antiquity or not, it is beautiful. I love the similarity between the geometry of the arches/columns and the surrounding rows of trees. Very beautiful, indeed.

    • It seems I now have to investigate the other end.

  7. I’ve seen something like this when flying into Rome. I have no idea how close you are to Rome, but is it the same one, or same thing? I’ve often wondered – what is that? Now I know.
    We collect fountain water all the time, it’s free and tastes better than bottled water.

    • We are not close enough to Rome for you to see this aqueduct, but there are lots of them all over Italy, so I am not surrised that you have seen them from the air. We have springs here in Bagni di Lucca as well. I don’t buy bottled water unless I am travelling, it is a waste of money and resources.

  8. What amazing feats of engineering and building these aqueducts are – I read with interest the earlier comment about the architect/engineer who designed it.

    • The aqueduct is beautiful. I’m pleased it has been kept even though the water doesn’t run along the top any more.

  9. It is beautiful… and the light was gorgeous!

    • It was mid afternoon on a beautiful autumn day.

  10. Roman or not, it’s still stunning! And it’s true, the geometry of the archs in relation to the bending branches is in and of itself lovely.

    • It is a beautiful structure indeed.

  11. What a find and tell me does water still run along up there? There are taps.. How wonderful.. c

    • The water now runs in pipes under the aqueduct, which is probably more efficient but not nearly as delightful.

      • ah.. thank you. c

  12. Roman or not, it is soo beautiful. the pics too.

    • I love the aqueduct. I’m so glad I found it.

  13. What a beautiful walk. Whether or not it’s Roman, it is still impressive.

    • It’s great isn’t it?

  14. Years ago, I had dinner in a lovely outdoor cafe in the shadow of that aqueduct, a repast and ambience with true Tuscan ambience. Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories!

    • I have to look for that cafe.

  15. Hi Debra: this was quite an interesting post. im collecting from the Blogs things i would like to see when i come back to italy.
    this would be one of them. i love stuff like this, the history and such. it is so beautiufl and unusual and the lunch for 10E is a must for sure.

    • You will love Lucca George.

  16. Debra as always you never fail to disappoint your photos are stunning and your commentary so interesting. We have passed the aquaduct a couple of times and had no idea of its beauty and history, thank you.

    • I love the aqueduct. When I see it from the autostrada I know I am close to Lucca. It is an excellent landmark.

  17. I would have also made the (incorrect) assumption that it was Roman!
    I think the brick work is great – there’s real character there, and I do enjoy a building/structure that has character 🙂

  18. I think we “met” when I first posted a picture of this aqueduct a few years back. Great photos!

    • It was indeed the aqueduct that introduced us.

  19. […] To see another wonderful Lorenzo Nottolini structure click here. […]

  20. I’ve also admired the acqueduct for some time. You can find other photos and information on it at

    • Thank you Francis for the extra information.

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: