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Experiences

Todi sotterranea

Under the streets and houses of Todi, hidden in the shadows, there is another city dug underground.

The underground Todi is formed by cavities of every type and size made by man over the centuries and which today you can visit in part.

More than 3 km of tunnels and galleries, dozens of pre-Roman, Roman and medieval cisterns, hundreds of wells from various eras, as well as a number of cellars and other types of underground passages, form the city's rich underground heritage.

The city's rich heritage has always been capable of arousing wonder in those who come across it by chance or those who, with effort and passion, seek to reveal its secrets. This fascination for the unknown already shines through in the words of the author of the XIII century Historia Tudertine Civitatis.

"...and he himself (Ercole) built Pietralunga and the urban circle; almost the greater part of the city rests on seven columns and the hero built the hole on the water tank on two columns, while the greater part of the urban circle rests on the cistern...".

This articulated system of underground structures that runs along the hill, formed by layers of gravel sand, was built to convey surface water downstream. In fact, the main function of these underground structures was to reclaim the slopes, today as in the past tormented by hydrogeological instability. In practice, the tunnels defuse the mechanism that causes landslides, reaching the critical points where water accumulates underground, draining it and transporting it to the surface where it cannot cause damage.

Since Todi stands on an isolated hill, surrounded for miles only by lower peaks, the city was unable to have an aqueduct coming from outside. For this reason the tunnels also became an important water supply system and some were dug explicitly for this reason. The public fountains fed by the tunnels helped to quench the city's thirst along with the wells through which the groundwater was drawn and the dozens of cisterns in which rainwater was stored.

After the completion of the modern aqueduct equipped with cast iron pipes and motor pumps in 1925 and after the running water reached all the houses in the following decades, the ancient basements, kept for centuries by the fountain keepers who took care of their maintenance and cleaning, became useless and were slowly forgotten. The immobility of the underground world has mostly excluded these spaces from the changes that have affected the city on the surface, transforming them into precious evidence of past times: custodians of stories that are just waiting to be deciphered to be told again.

Many of these galleries and underground spaces can be visited. The itinerary includes: the Roman cisterns of Piazza del Popolo, the galleries of the Fabbrica della Piana and the Neviera della Valle.