Those Clever Romans

Since Todi was our home base, we wanted to make sure to see all of the special sights it had to offer. This included a visit to the Roman cistern at the top of Todi’s hill.

Mom and Dad clown around a well that once drew water
from the ancient Roman cisterns

In the first century BCE, the Romans constructed two still-standing timeworn tanks to function as reservoirs for the city’s water supply. These cisterns were also meant to prevent water from causing landslides and eroding the hill. Rainwater would collect in the open wells of the ancient Roman Forum and from underground springs and then stored in the cisterns.

The first of these two ancient cisterns was discovered as far back as 1262; the other was found just a few years ago — in 1996. By sheer chance it came to light during restoration of a tobacco shop that sits directly overhead. Both are part of an extensive system of underground tunnels, galleries, tanks, and wells.

I will never cease to be amazed at the cleverness of those old Romans.

Inside the cistern system, beneath modern day Todi


A now-dry cistern

From the cistern we walked the few steps back to Piazza del Popolo. The heart of modern Todi, this piazza has been the center of town since Roman times. The Roman Forum was once located here, but today, as I have mentioned previously, medieval buildings line its perimeter: Palazzo dei Priori, Palazzo del Capitano, and Palazzo del Popolo.

Palazzo del Capitano -- location of the Etruscan-Roman Museum

We were next headed to one of them — Palazzo del Capitano, where the Etruscan-Roman museum is located. Although small, this museum was still worth a visit. I was particularly smitten with a delightful painting of Diana by artist Andrea Polinori, who lived from 1586-1648. Although I did not get a photo of Diana, I did get one of Mars.

Mars of Todi -- a hollow bronze statue from 450 BC

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