The Caroline Aqueduct and Luigi Vanvitelli’s challenge

The Caroline Aqueduct (also known as Aqueduct of Vanvitelli) winds over 38 kilometers from Bucciano, in the province of Benevento, to Caserta. On May 7th, 1762, although the aqueduct had not been completed yet, one of its major portions – including Luigi Vanvitelli’s masterpiece, the section bridging the Maddaloni Valley – was inaugurated.

The great architect (Naples, 1700-Caserta, 1773) was very anxious about the event. He waited for water to flow into the aqueduct, just outside the tunnel in Monte Garzano, with a number of important people including, first and foremost, Ferdinand IV, King of Naples and of the Two Sicilies.

The group had 529 meters of what was the longest bridge in Europe at the time right in front of them: an imposing structure – reaching 56 meters in height – that Vanvitelli had designed to bring water across the Maddaloni Valley, in the final leg of a very long journey.

That journey had proven an incredible challenge for Vanvitelli and his collaborators, who along the whole aqueduct had calculated a mere half a millimeter of slope per meter on average

That day water kept a trembling Vanvitelli waiting, while the king looked on with curiosity. Finally, it gurgled and roared down the line – ready to be used in the fields of Campania, in the magnificent Royal Palace of Caserta, and in the beautiful San Leucio complex.

Vanvitelli sighed with relief, and knew he had won his challenge.

Photos via:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22fiaschi/15296258971
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22fiaschi/15296262541
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mariapiastatile/6103191390
http://www.flickr.com/photos/totentanz/7068758431

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The Caroline Aqueduct and Luigi Vanvitelli’s challenge

Caserta
Valle di Maddaloni

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