Time for sunny winter walk! The weather gods are smiling on us again, gone is the grey and now we are having those beautiful crisp sunny days that remind us winter really can be okay! So I’ve temporarily set aside dreaming of summer beaches and gone for walks. We had a few hours to spare in Lucca waiting for no.1 son and I remembered Debra’s post about the Nottolini aqueduct http://bagnidilucca.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/its-not-roman/
We drove into the San Concordio part of Lucca and simply looked for acquaduct, and then somewhere to park. I’d guess we started about a quarter of the way along from the Lucca end of the aqueduct. The aqueduct runs for just over 3km from Lucca to Guamo and was built from 1823 by Nottolini to bring fresh drinking water from the springs in the foothills of the Monte Pisani to the city’s fountains. A path runs alongside which is completely flat and ideal for a walk, cycle or judging by the tracks, horse ride.
The 12 metre brick high arches make for impressive companions, there were 459, but now 6 have been removed to make way for the A11 Autostrada. Not only are they architecturally impressive but inspiring also as a monument to something built for the benefit of ordinary people. There were two water channels running along the top, with two different qualities of water. The water doesn’t flow on the acquedotto any longer but there must be some pipes bringing spring water along the route as many locals stopped to fill cratefulls of water bottles at the taps along the route.
The aqueduct ends at the Tempietto di Guamo. This cistern was the connection point for waters from 18 springs. From here you can trace the straight route of the aqueduct as it runs over the plain to Lucca. The backdrop of the Apennines and Apuane Alps north of the Lucca plain is clearly visible. It makes a good spot to understand the ‘geography’ of the Lucca area.
The path doesn’t end at the Tempietto. The waterworks continue underground with conduits, wells and inspection chambers. I understand there is a park dedicated to Nottolini, but we didn’t get very far beyond the aqueduct this time as it was starting to get darker and colder! Time to turn back.
The return was unexpectedly lovely as the winter sun was fast disappearing and bathing the mountains in the distance a deep purple, and the flat farmland along the route in a pinky glow. This goat bouncing rapidly up a tree to peer down at us from a superior position of height was a nice shock.
As you can see we got back to the car just in time, it was getting a bit dark to see very much!
Although we’d driven to Lucca this walk would be easy to do without a car as the aqueduct starts near to the train station in Lucca. The distance we walked took us 35 minutes to reach the other end of the aqueduct, and I amble along very slowly!So I’d guess to allow up to an hour each way for the whole length, plus however far you want to go after the aqueduct ends. We only went about minutes further, so will have to go again-I always want to reach the very end, just to see what’s there!