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.
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.by