One of the very first things I did when I arrived in Lucca years ago, was going to the Aqueduct of Nottolini by mountain bike. The Aqueduct in Lucca is a prominent Neoclassical architectural landmark but unfortunately most people that visit never make it to the Aqueduct because they don’t know it exists or they don’t know how easy it is to reach. I’ll give you all details on how to get to the Aqueduct, but first I’ll give you some background information on the impressive structure.
The ending point of the aqueduct of Nottolini is another temple-cistern at San Concordio. The water from the conduit poured into the large marble basin. From the basin the water fell into two iron tubes leading about 2.000 meters underground into the city to the large circular fountain at Piazza Antelminelli in the square besides the cathedral of Lucca. Nottolini made sure the tubes could move slightly to make sure the metal tunnels wouldn’t create problems as the metal lengthened or shortened according to the heat or cold.
Walking or biking along the aqueduct in Lucca
You can either bike or walk along the Aqueduct in Lucca. I personally always went here by bike as I loved to ride beneath the massive arches of the Aqueduct, but walking underneath it doesn’t make the structure less impressive.
Why did the Lucchesi built the aqueduct?
When I first saw the landmark I thought it must have been built thousands of years ago by the roman empire. Like myself, many people get confused by the arches of the aqueduct and therefore wrongfully assume that it’s an ancient Roman aqueduct. In reality the construction of the Neoclassical architectural aqueduct was begun in 1823 by the architect Lorenzo Nottolini and was finished in 1851. The Lucchesi built it after they realized they needed to supply the city with good quality water, replacing the often contaminated wells. Even though the same problem had been solved a hundreds of times across Europe by Roman hydrologists, the Lucchesi didn’t come to a concrete decision on how to realize the project up until 150 years later.
From Mount Vorno to Lucca city: how they channeled the water from the mountains into the city.
The water of the aqueduct in Lucca was drawn from several springs on the northern slope of Mount of Vorno. The water from the mountain passes through a number of layers of gravel and stone, purifying it before arriving to the temple-cistern of Guamo where the water used to be collected. From there the water was channeled inside the conduit that you can still admire today. The conduit passes over more than 400 brick arches and has a complete length of around and about 3.250 meters (10.600 foot). Unfortunately the structure now gets interrupted by the A11 highway which is a true pity, but it does allow you to admire a glimpse of the Aqueduct even while driving your car past Lucca.
Things you need to know before departing
How to get to the aqueduct in Lucca
When I’m mentioning “Starting Point”, I’m referring to the point closest to Lucca – in reality this would be the ending point of the Aqueduct so please don’t get confused.
Getting to aqueduct Nottolini by foot
Do you want to visit the aqueduct in Lucca but don’t have a car? If you’re mobile then you shouldn’t face any problems, you can just go to the starting point by foot and follow along the aqueduct to arrive at the Monte di Vorno.
To reach the starting point of the walking path:
Aqueduct of Nottolini, Lucca, Via Tempietto, 388, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
The ending point of the walking path:
Via S. Quirico, 32, 55060 Capannori LU, Italy
If you want to visit the remains of the aqueduct at Monte di Vorno:
From Via S. Quirico, 32 walk to Parole D’oro. You can find the location of the Parole D’oro in Google Maps.
Getting to aqueduct Nottolini by car
If you are less mobile I suggest you to immediately go to the “ending point”, the point that is furthest away from Lucca city. You can easily park your car along the road and walk along the aqueduct a as long as you like.
To reach the aqueduct of Lucca go to:
Via S. Quirico, 32, 55060 Capannori LU, Italy
If you’re done looking around you can take your car and go to the Parole D’oro location which is only 1.4 kilometers away from Via S. Quirico 32.
The path along the river is paved up until the bridge and is thus upon that point disabled friendly. After that you’ll encounter some gravel making it harder for wheelchairs to enter the path, but not impossible. The bridge allowing you to cross the river is disabled friendly.
The Serchio River in Lucca is free to visit for everyone.