The Aqua Augusta, or Serino Aqueduct, was one of the largest and most complex works of infrastructure in the Roman world. The total length of the aqueduct was approximately 100km, from the spring to the Piscina Mirabilis at the port of Misenum.
Recently, two stretches of the ancient aqueduct were discovered and identified in the basement of the Peschici-Maresca Palace, in via Arena Sanità, as an interesting succession of pillars and arcades in bricks and tuff. An archaeological site of exceptional interest in terms of location, complexity and building peculiarities.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was owned by the Marquis of Peschici. However, according to research done in the archive of the Arciconfraternita dei Pellegrini, it was owned by the Maresca, a well-known ship-owning family, throughout the eighteenth century. Today, the palace is the property of the Arciconfraternita, and is still impressive, with battlements on top and some piperno shelving, visible from via Sannicandro.
Once, instead of this street, there was a large garden that extended to the Vergini. This is a seventeenth-century-type residence, as probably indicated by the small balustrade – found on via Arena della Sanità – which shows a coat of arms with the labellum in the middle.
On the same street, until the middle of the last century, there was the Chapel of the Purità all’Arena. It was beside the portal, on the top of which we can still see the space that held the coat of arms.
Text by Massimo Rippa
borgo dei vergini
The Borgo dei Vergini extends through a valley surrounded by the hills of Capodimonte, Miradois, Scudillo, Stella and Materdei and corresponds to the Vergini valley. Over the centuries, this flat area has been significantly modified both by floods bringing silt from surrounding hills (the so-called Vergini lava) and by human presence.
Underground burials, found in the Borgo outside of the Neapolis city walls, date back to Greek-Hellenistic times. The area’s funerary use was mainly due to the ease of tuff digging. The holes dug during Greek times were used again in the Christian era, when early basilicas sprang up. From the 16th century to the beginning of the 18th century, the area saw extensive building activity by clergymen and private citizens, because it was not subject to the same restrictions as inside the city walls. One of the early palaces worth noting is the 16th-century Palazzo Traetto.
The architect Ferdinando Sanfelice left a considerable mark on the Borgo in the first decades of the 18th century, with the construction of his family palace and the reconstruction of S. Maria Succurre Miseris, on top of the ruins of the earlier church of Saint Antoniello. The palace of the Marquis of Poppano, known as dello Spagnolo, is attributed to the same architect. Noteworthy 18th-century palaces include the Prince of S. Elia’s and the De’ Liguoro Palace. Ecclesiastical buildings worth noting are the churches of S. Aspreno S. Maria ai Vergini.