The Wells of Lucca

According to tradition, in ancient times, Lucca was supplied with water via aqueduct, possibly an underground one, starting in proximity of Moriano.  The aqueduct was the source of numerous fountains, of which, some locations are known to us even today ( it should be mentioned that the layout of the ancient roman aqueduct was probably still in existence at this time and according to Silva reached approximately, as far as to where the church of San Frediano stands today). 

Before the end of the Middle Ages, this aqueduct was damaged and it was necessary to resort to wells.  In most cases, the wells were excavated under the kitchens of the buildings so that water could be easily drawn via pulley through the windows.  In many courtyards you can still see, built at window-level with hooks mounted overhead for pulleys, stone basins where buckets could be placed or, if necessary, used to fill a small reservoir found above the kitchen sink. (This excerpt is from:  The secolo di Castruccio, fonti e documenti di storia lucchese – The Age of Castruccio, sources and documents of the history of Lucca – mpf 1982).

The means of supplying water changed, when in the first half of the 1800s, first under the principality of Elisa Bonaparte (Napoleon’s sister) and then definitively under the Bourbon duchy of Maria Luisa, a new aqueduct was constructed.  It is named after its designer, the architect Lorenzo Nottolini.  It is still possible to admire the arcade of red bricks that stretches from the source in Guamo near the Monti Pisani (hills of Pisa) carrying fresh uncontaminated spring-water to many fountains in town.

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