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Uncommon Siena – The Bottini aqueduct 2

Uncommon Siena – The Bottini aqueduct

Since ancient times the city of Siena, being in a hilly position and far from waterways, has always had to resort to alternative solutions for the water supply. To overcome this problem, the Sienese genius created a network of aqueducts between the 12th and 15th centuries that made it possible to bring water to the sources of the city and therefore to the homes of its inhabitants.
Today we talk about an unusual Siena, let's talk about the "Bottini".

What are the "Bottini"

The "Bottini" are a network of underground aqueducts that still feed the historical sources of Siena today. It consists of a stretch about 25 kilometers long, of which about 320 meters can be covered on foot, which starts from the Intronati Municipal Library and reaches Fonte Gaia.


The term "bottini" comes from the ancient Latin "buctinus", which means "barrel", appears for the first time in a document of 1226, and indicates the shape of the barrel vaults of the tunnels that make them up.

The rock underlying the city is soft and tuffaceous, and therefore made it possible to excavate this ingenious system of tunnels, where rainwater was collected in a "gorello" - a small channel at the base of the walkway - which flows until it reaches the historical sources.

The entire ancient water supply system, which between main branches and derivations, represents a fundamental element of the history and culture of the city. The bottini and its sources were for hundreds of years the only water supply system, until, in the first twenty years of the 20th century, water from the Vivo springs arrived in the city, which from Monte Amiata with the new aqueduct and its distribution brought water to the houses of Siena.

Bottini maestri 

There are two main branches of the bottini, the older one the Bottino maestro di Fontebranda, which is located at a considerable depth and which from Fontebecci carries the water up to the Fonte di Fontebranda, and the Bottino maestro di Fonte Gaia, built around 1300, which feeds the source of Piazza del Campo, Fonte Gaia and with the overflow, also other minor sources.

How to book a visit to the Bottini of Siena

From November 2022, reservations have been reopened for visits to the public with capacity reduced to 10 people to avoid deterioration of the precious heritage of the ancient Sienese aqueduct thanks to a project carried out by the Municipality of Siena, in collaboration with the Superintendence of Archaeology, fine arts and landscape for the provinces of Siena, Arezzo and Grosseto and the Fire Brigade of Siena.

To book a visit to the Bottini di Siena during your stay at Borgo Scopeto Wine & Country Relais you can contact us via email and our staff will take care of your request.

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