The Parco degli Acquedotti: a famous movie set from the 50s
Visiting Rome means losing yourself to its beautiful, artistic, cultural and landscape secular beauties. Once landed in the eternal city, you can't miss a fascinating walk in the park that is an important archaeological site and a 50s film set till nowadays.
But why would it be a pity not to put it in tour in Rome?
Surrounded by via Lemonia, via delle Capannelle, via Appia Nuova and via del Quadraro, the name Parco degli Acquedotti comes from the remains of six out of the eleven aqueducts that brought water to Rome.
They were the ancient aqueducts: Anio Vetus, along an underground route, Claudio, situated under the Anio Novus, the Aqua Marcia, under the above Tepula and Iulia channels. The Aqua Marcia aqueduct was partly destroyed and reused for building the seventh aqueduct, the Felice Aqueduct. The latter was built during the Renaissance by the will of Pope Sisto V.
But how did the transport of water work? The aqueducts just quoted came from the sources at the slopes of Colli Albani or from the Aniene valley, from the highest point of the city, to Porta Maggiore, where the water was spread in the rest of Rome.
The park, part of the Regional Park of the Appia Antica (protected area by the Regional Law n. 66, 1988) is crossed by the ancient via Latina, rich in the rests of the peasant Roman villas from the first, third and fourth century AD.
A famous one we can mention is Villa of the Vignacce. The Villa - we can still see just a few rooms and a cistern - seems to have been owned by Servilio Prudente, a bricks manufacturer who studied the the construction technique of the so-called Pignatta. Another very interesting building is the Roma Vecchia medieval house. It is situated where the Claudian aqueduct saves the largest number of uninterrupted arches: you can't miss it. Since the beginning of 1800s, the Parco degli Acquedotti, has been subjected to remarkable transformations, because of the railway lines realization towards the South - the Rome-Frascati or the Rome-Cassino-Naples lines. Because of those works, many of the arches were destroyed and modified by those works, and by the numerous inconveniences. Other changes occurred, because of the “borghetti” birth, the shanty towns rising up near the Felice aqueduct. In the 70s, the area was reclaimed and expropriated.
In 1986, the Comittee for the safeguard of the Parco degli Acquedotti and Roma Vecchia was created, to protect the park from building speculations and usurpation, beginning the course towards the admission of the park into the Parco Regionale dell'Appia Antica. Today, the Parco degli Acquedotti is named Park of San Policarpo, by its followers, and it is a meeting point on sunny days, a green area where to do jogging, read a book breathing an historical atmosphere, or to have long walks with friends or pets.
It is a sort of short historical overview, useful to understand the fascination the Park had on artists, travelers, photographers, writers and film-makers who made it a fascinating movie set, a stimulating source of inspiration, the protagonist of poetry and background of stories and pictures.
A sequence of triumphal arches J.W. Goethe said, in his Trip to Italy, to define the path the aqueducts drew from Colli Albani to Porta Maggiore.
The Parco degli acquedotti: a movie set. Which films?
Walking along the park means to breathe history, culture but also art and cinema. Main 50s Italian film-makers made the Park of the Aqueducts one of the natural scenographies of Rome for their cameras.
These movies actually are important historical documents as they captured the conditions many beauties and attractions of the eternal city.
We can't forget the La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini, where the images of the aqueduct are the protagonists of the first seconds of the movie, background of the helicopter going to Saint Peter's?
The Park is the background of Pier Paolo Pasolini's Mamma Roma, too. The great Anna Magnani - interpreter of one of the most dramatic movies of the time, walks around the Quadraro district, from where you can easily see the park. At the time, the park was suffering a serious decline, because of unauthorized buildings.
The rests of the Aqueduct Claudius and the Roman countryside are also protagonists of the Marchese del Grillo, by Mario Monicelli. They accompany the speeches of the Marquis and a French official on coach, before being stopped near the ruins of the Church of Saint Bonaventura in Canale Monterano, by a group of criminals.
Recently, other movies have had it as their background, such as the La Grande Bellezza by Paolo Sorrentino. If you saw the movie, you can't forget the artistic power of the movie in this suggestive area.
Recently, the park has been selected as stage of a tv-series - Roma, by Bruno Heller. The ancient history and the atmosphere of the park have caught writers and artists: you can't miss the park of San Policarpo if you visit Rome.
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