These Roman tunnels were once the longest in the ancient world

These ancient tunnels were once the longest in the world, and although they are not open to this day, they are impressive to see from afar.

The Romans were famous for their engineering prowess in building structures such as bridges, aqueducts, amphitheatres, and even tunnels. During the reign of Emperor Claudius, the Romans built the longest tunnels in the ancient world up to the Frejus railway tunnel in 1871.

Not far from the tunnels is Rome, and in Rome one can see the original Roman catacombs where Christians hid and buried their dead. The Romans left marvels of engineering both above and below ground. In Paris, the famous quarries under the city were created by the Romans and today around 6 million people are buried there.

Background and History of the Claudius Tunnels

The tunnels enabled the Romans to protect human settlement along the lake from flooding and to make ancient wetlands suitable for agriculture.

  • Length: Almost 6 KM (3.5 miles)
  • Listed: In 1902 the tunnels and hydraulic works were included in the Italian National Monuments

Petitions asking the Roman imperial authorities to do something about the flooding of the lake date back to the reign of Julius Caesar. Residents suffered poor sanitation due to flooding. A plan was drawn up to solve the problem and connect the Tiber to the Adriatic Sea, but with the assassination of Julius Caesar this plan was blocked.

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Years later, another plan was created. This required the digging of a channel so that the water could flow through the Cesolino hill and then flow into the Salto river. But that, too, was abandoned over fears it would increase the risk of flooding in the city of Rome downstream.

  • Built by: Emperor Claudius

But the third time is a charm and the solution was to divert the waters through a tunnel through Mount Salviano into the Liri River. This plan was much more difficult but posed no problem in Rome.

The project lasted 11 years and involved around 30,000 men digging (some were slaves). Unsurprisingly, the project ran into many problems, including landslides, but the Romans persevered and persisted.

  • Construction date : Between 41 and 52 AD

According to Me, Claudius, to celebrate its completion, Emperor Claudius held a public feast with a staged naval battle on the lake. The locks were opened by Claudius for the very first time. In the crowd that day was Claudius’ young relative, Nero (who would become the infamous Emperor Nero).

  • Drained: 6,000 acres of Lake Fucine

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