Aqueduct Park in Rome is seldom visited by tourists but it makes a beautiful and peaceful day trip from Rome’s busy center. It is also easy to do if you have a fairly long port day in Civitavecchia.
Let’s say you’ve visited Rome several, or even many times. You’ve seen the Colosseum, the Vatican museum, St. Paul’s and the Palatine Hill. You are looking for something EASY and low stress but still want to see something interesting. How about a site that has few tourists, has great antiquities, is accessible by public transportation, and is FREE? Many I suggest a visit to Aqueduct Park?
Aqueduct Park Rome
The ruins of three major aqueducts run through the park. The star of the show is the Acqua Claudia, whose arches run for several kilometers through the park. Construction was begun by Caligula in 38 AD and finished by Claudius in 52 AD. This is the one that you can see from the Metro and is the longest and best preserved of the three. As you enter the park you’ll first see the Acqua Felice, which is really a Renaissance renovation (1500’s.) It was built atop the older Acqua Marcia which dates from 140 BC and was constructed by Quintus Marcus Rex. Remnants of the old Acqua Marcia can be seen in the south of the Park.
Visiting Aqueduct Park on a Port Day
If you are visiting Rome from a cruise ship, you’ll be docked in Civitavecchia. You may not want to do this trip if you have a short port day (8 hours or less). If you have a regular port day of 8-6 or 8-7 you’ll have plenty of time. It will take you about 1 1/2 hours to get here, so leave the ship as soon as you can in the morning!
Directions From Civitavecchia to Aqueduct Park
Take the shuttle bus to the port entrance, and either walk south to the train station (about a mile) or take the local bus (2€). At the train station buy a BIRG ticket for 12€. You can use this pass all day on the train and Metro. While you’re at the station, look at the schedule to find which return train you’ll take that will get you back to the ship an hour before sailing. Plan on catching the train that leaves before that one to be on the safe side. Validate your ticket at one of the little machines before you get on the train. Take the train all the way to the end–the Termini station.
Termini is the central transfer station for all the metro lines, and is also Rome’s major train station. There are many restaurants here where you can get some sandwiches to go, but you can also pick up picnic supplies at the grocery store on the lower level of the station. Look for Metro Line A–the green line. Take it in the direction Agagnina and get off at the Giulio Agricola station. Walk west down Viale Giulio Agricola and you’ll see the large San Policarpo church. The park is just on the other side. Walk right in–there’s no admission fee.
Enjoy the grand open vista of the fields, flowers and aqueducts. You may find shepherds leading their flocks of sheep to graze beneath the aqueducts, but you’ll find very few people. The ones that you see are probably local Romans taking a short break from hectic big-city life.
You may just want to walk around, have a picnic, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance. But if you want to know exactly what you’re looking at, I’ve found this great map for you. I wish I had had it when I was there!
For a short summary of the history of all the aqueducts in Rome go to Aqua Copedia’s site: http://www.romanaqueducts.info/picturedictionary/pd_onderwerpen/rome.htm
Enjoy! Habe diem mirabilium!