We took a tour of an underground aqueduct system beneath the city.  It was really, really cool — literally, quite pleasant on a hot summer day — and also marvelously strange to be walking through passages that served such an ordinary function but were such masterpieces of engineering, and so long ago, and used for so long…  Not just in the ancient world but right up through the middle ages. They were used as bomb shelters in WWII.

I didn’t take photos down there so I stole this one from the interwebs.

Nicer houses had their own indoor well so that water could be pulled up from the cistern right at home.  Aqueduct-cleaners scrambled along narrow stone ledges all through the cistern systems, like inverted chimney-sweeps.  They weren’t monks, but somehow they collectively became the “monaciello,” the “little monk,” who might climb up though the well-hole in your house and steal your socks, like inverted Christmas elves.

Or if you were lucky, the monaciello might just decide to leave you a pile of money, like a leprechaun.


I love the underneath of things.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusby feather


The sense of danger must not disappear The way is certainly both short and steep However gradual it looks from here Look if you like, but you will have to leap. ~ W H Auden

Related Posts


Rome: Why would we need a map?

So Mike and I are really good at traveling together.  Even when we were little kids, Mom would turn us loose in Boston, tell us to stay on the Green line, and we’d go off Read more…


Christmas Alley

One of the first things we did on my visit to Naples was visit the touristy bit of downtown:  my family knew I would particularly like Christmas Alley, and indeed, it was (forgive me) right Read more…


“What are you going to see in Italy…?”

“Ooh, what are you going to see in Italy?” everybody asked. “MY FAMILY.”   :D Mike is stationed in Naples, and Christi and the kids are along for the adventure this time.  Naples is a Read more…