Long Ago in Spoleto: Inauguration of the Vallocchia urban aqueduct

On 7 August, 1921, in the presence of numerous dignitaries, the Vallocchia urban subsidiary aqueduct is inaugurated, a necessary intervention to exploit new sources of supply to bring new water to the city and meet the area’s urging water needs.

The 11 August 1921 issue of Il Messaggero says the ceremony took place in solemn form. Photographs of the time, kept in the photo library of the City, show us a long line of people in dignified poses gathering at the Cortaccione ditch to witness the introduction of the ‘new, healthy water from the Vallocchia springs […] into the Cortaccione pipeline‘.

Civil and military authorities, various dignitaries and representatives of the press “under the guidance of the municipal engineer, Mr Zigari, who directed the work very well […] entered the long tunnel with fantastic little lights to witness the christening of the new water […] When the traditional champagna [sic] bottle was broken, the new water, with a flow rate of fourteen litres per second, appeared sparkling to the applause of those present“.

The interventions of the new Vallocchia aqueduct were completed almost three decades after the entry into operation of the modern urban aqueduct that in 1894 – still drawing from the sources of Cortaccione but through a new pressure system and new infrastructure – replaced the old pipes that from Fosso di Cortaccione to the north and from Patrico to the south had led water into the city over the centuries through the Ponte delle Torri.

A few years after the Vallocchia works, other works between the 1920s and 1930s brought new water to Spoleto, this time from the Montefiorello springs. In the 1970s, given the continuing need for water in an expanding territory, the Argentina aqueduct was built.

The history of the Spoleto aqueduct – from the remote chapters dating to the Roman period, to the great 19th-century infrastructure works – is a very important stage in the city’s history that deserves a further deepening in the “Long Ago in Spoleto” column.

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