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Cloaca Massima, Rome

3.8
#333 of 524 in Historic Sites in Rome
The Cloaca Maxima is one of the world's earliest sewage systems. Constructed in Ancient Rome in order to drain local marshes and remove the waste of one of the world's most populous cities, it carried effluent to the River Tiber, which ran beside the city.ConstructionThe name literally means Greatest Sewer. According to tradition it may have been initially constructed around 600 BC under the orders of the king of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus.The Cloaca Maxima originally was built by the Etruscans as an open-air canal. Over time, the Romans covered over the canal and turned it into a sewer system for the city.This public work was largely achieved through the use of Etruscan engineers and large amounts of semi-forced labour from the poorer classes of Roman citizens. Underground work is said to have been carried out on the sewer by Tarquinius Superbus, Rome's seventh and last king.Although Livy describes it as being tunnelled out beneath Rome, he was writing centuries after the event. From other writings and from the path that it takes, it seems more likely that it was originally an open drain, formed from streams from three of the neighbouring hills, that were channelled through the main Forum and then on to the Tiber. This open drain would then have been gradually built over, as building space within the city became more valuable. It is possible that both theories are correct, and certainly some of the main lower parts of the system suggest that they would have been below ground level even at the time of the supposed construction.
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Cloaca Massima Reviews

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  • Cloaca Maxima is often mentioned in history books and yet it's nearly impossible to find sites related to it. This unmarked arch at Tiber 's embankment is supposedly the place where it coonects to...  more »
  • The Cloaca Massima (the Greatest Sewer) is a very important archaeological and historical site. To the ordinary person it's probably nothing at all, but to those who have studied the history and are.....  more »
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  • Cloaca Maxima is often mentioned in history books and yet it's nearly impossible to find sites related to it. This unmarked arch at Tiber 's embankment is supposedly the place where it coonects to the Tiber river. Here, among homeless people encampment you can actualy see a small sewage outlet. Does it mean that the ancient sewage system is still working, buried under Rome's streets? If so, I would love to learn more about it current state, better yet - tour it. btw nearby, behind the Arch of Janus, is a place that seems to be connected to Cloaca Maxima (see photos)
  • Well do not expect anything fancy, or anything at all, there is a sight next to the river that is nothing spectacular, and one that is in the Caesar's Forum, that can be seen from the street, that is a bit cleaner and deserves to be acknowledged.

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