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Who needs a Stairmaster when you can climb an acqueduct?

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I'm looking forward to returning to Perugia in September for so many reasons. It's a very beautiful and lively city, with great monuments, wonderful art, decent shopping and many fascinating medieval sites. This is just one such site, the old city's acqueduct. Built in 1254, it originally stretched for approximately five kilometres and was designed to bring water from Monte Pacciano to Piazza Grande, the medieval square that is now called Piazza IV Novembre (and rests between the cathedral and Palazzo dei Priori.)


The acqueduct, or acquedotto, ran along Via del Fagiano (formerly Via dei Condotti), Via dell’Acquedotto and Via Appia, according to Perugia Online, a helpful website where I also found this photo. The final part of the acqueduct structure ran between the Conca area of town and the Etruscan town walls.

Very early in the 19th century, a new acqueduct was constructed and the last stretch of the medieval structure became a popular walk, with a terraced footpath above the huge arches of the original structure.

The path remains popular, although I was almost alone when I walked it on a hot, humid Sunday afternoon last June in Perugia -- perhaps I was alone because it's a very steep walk, going up and down. (I was sweating like some kind of farm animal on the hike back up, up, up!)

Still, a really interesting walk and a great way to burn calories. I must confess that's part of what I enjoy about Perugia -- and Umbria in general -- the steep hills and valleys which are gorgeous in and of themselves, but they also provide a workout and a way to burn off some of the region's great food.

So, bring on the steep stairs, acqueducts, hills, steeples, and towers!

Something that I missed last year when I was following the acqueduct path, was a detour at the bottom of the steps where one can turn left to find the Roman mosaics of Santa Elisabetta, which I believe are found at the remains of a hot-spring spa that dates from the 2nd century AD. Somehow, I missed the detour, so this year I'll try to find it. I would especially love to see the black and white mosaic of Orpheus, the mythical Greek who was possibly the son of two gods and was known as "the father of songs."

Which is very cool.

Comments (7)

Hey, I have been on those steps. I didn't know it was formerly an acqueduct. Interesting info. Italy definitely has its perks when it comes to finding a good workout.

I haven't been there, just driven past several times. I'll look forward to hearing more. :)

Anne:

The more I learn about Perugia, the more I want to visit someday. The acqueduct path sounds fascinating. I love that photo.

I appreciate the benefits of all the walking done while travelling as well. (Even if Florence is flatter than Perugia, I know I will still burn off many a gelato this October!)

sandrac:

Girasoli, it is fun to discover things walking around Italy. (So much more beautiful than the gym!)

Leslie, now that I have my digital camera, I hopefully will get some decent photos of my own on this year's trip.

Anne, if you get a chance to visit Perugia, it really is fantastic. It reminds me a bit of Florence in that they both look quite austere -- all that stone! And I'm sure you'll put on the miles in Florence in October.

Great photo, and you are right, all that climbing doesn't seem like exercise in Italy.

Beautiful photo!

I feel the same way about Venice - all that walking and going up and down bridges makes me feel so healthy and less guilty about eating a pannacotta or gelato. And I've never gained weight on vacation there either!

sandrac:

Just imagine how healthy and happy we'd all be if we could actually LIVE in Italy (and integrate all the walking and climbing into every day life!)

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