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Camilla Verdacchi

Those emerald green lakes under the Romans' feet ...

Rome has always been a city of water, we know it well.

Just think of the importance of the Tiber and the Aniene, the ancient aqueducts, the spas, the thousands of fountains, the Cloaca Maxima, the naumachies, the lakes that surround the city, the proximity to the sea, the villas that use water for the whim of wealthy and cultured cardinals, as in the case of Villa d'Este in Tivoli, commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito d'Este.

Talking about an aquatic Rome is easy, just look around yourself on a beautiful sunny day.

But .. what happens in the dark?

The darkness and dungeons in the capital reserve the most beautiful surprises.

Today I would like to tell you about something that very few know: a labyrinth of underground lakes in the belly of the Celio Hill, a stone's throw from the Colosseum.

A part of the labyrinth of underground lakes located below the surface of the Celio hill

Under the church of Saints John and Paul and the ruins of the Temple of Emperor Claudius, thirty feet underground, in silence and darkness, we can admire the clear emerald-colored lakes spectacularly framed by colored stalactites.

For some years now, a team of speleologists has been exploring this system of ancient quarries, excavated since the 4th century BC, which has an extension of over one mile.

Here the water has a constant temperature of 10°C, 50°F.

Since 2004 an attempt has been made to document this small and very ancient geological world, and among the many emotions that this brings to the people who are dealing with it there is, for example, that of finding the cracks in the rocks where the ancient workers placed their lamps, but also very old electric cables, which remind us how these spaces were widely used as air-raid shelters during the Second World War.

In Rome surprises never end, and we could draw up an endless list of them.

Also under the San Camillo Hospital, in Monteverde, in 2013 an extraordinary underground lake was rediscovered in a twenty thousand square feet cave, thirty feet high, which in the past was used as a warehouse for food to support the needs of the above hospital, while - during the Second World War - the same cave became an air-raid shelter.

The large complex of caves and lakes located under the San Camillo Hospital.
Part of these caves were used as warehouses for the hospital itself, as well as air-raid shelters during the Second World War.

It is said that there is a direct connection between this lake and the Tiber.

If, on the other hand, we decide to move to the historic center, we will discover that at the end of the 1930s, excavations conducted in the cellars of the Apostolic Chancellery Palace made it possible to discover a Roman sepulcher, which now lies on the bottom of a splendid emerald-colored pond, under twenty feet of pure water.

A pond that probably formed thanks to the obstruction of the Euripus canal, at the time of the construction of the Tiber walls.

The emerald and pure water lake that is located under the Vatican Apostolic Chancellery.

We can, for the time being, stop here.

However, I will soon resume the topic to talk about other aspects of the wonderful aquatic Rome, and about many underground sites, all to be discovered, to go back in time and feel eternal, like our beloved city.

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Some reviews of people that I have had the pleasure of guiding on my tours

Daniela L.
Daniela L.
The tour I wanted
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The tour of the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill that I have wanted to do for a long time. Camilla was a perfect choice. Prepared, friendly, patient with my many questions. I will recommend her to my friends. Thanks Camilla!
Fabio T.
Fabio T.
The squares of Rome are very interesting
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My wife and I went on a tour of Rome's squares with Camilla. Although I was a little skeptical at first and took this tour by suggestion of my wife, I must say it turned out to be spectacular, and that Camilla was simply a fantastic guide.
Gianna B.
Gianna B.
Vatican exploration to remember
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I had always tried to imagine what was behind the Vatican doors. This tour finally introduced me to a reality that had intrigued me all my life.
Roberto R.
Roberto R.
Rome in a Day
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Without straining we were able to see in one day all the most famous glimpses of Rome, also recognizing many places seen in the great films of Italian cinema. A day that I would suggest to anyone who goes to Rome.
Cristina C.
Cristina C.
Forum and Palatine
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We all know the Colosseum, but perhaps we know less about the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Camilla has a perfect way to make you "travel" in Imperial Rome, among historical data, curiosities, secrets ... Not only a great day, but also useful, very useful!
Luigi Z.
Luigi Z.
As a teacher I tell you: do it!
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All my life I taught History and Letters in high school, and I thought that a tour like the Colosseum could tell me little, and in fact I had organized it mostly for my wife and my daughter. Actually, this guide has been able to illuminate some aspects of the life of Roman citizens that were completely unknown to me. We never know enough about Rome.
Emma G.
Emma G.
The Sistine Chapel is an incredible emotion
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Before doing this tour of the Vatican I knew that the Sistine Chapel is one of the most important and famous works of art in the world, but I would never have imagined the emotion that entering that place caused me. There are no words to describe it. Thanks Camilla, for your expert and complete guide.
Mara K.
Mara K.
How nice the tour of the squares!
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When we think of the squares of Rome we always imagine the most famous ones, such as the Spanish Steps or Piazza Navona. But those who are not from Rome, like me, often do not even suspect how beautiful many other squares of this incredible city can be! I recommend you do this tour with Mrs. Verdacchi, you won't regret it!
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