Gallery delle Fontane – Parma, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Gallery delle Fontane

A completely underground tour following the path of the most precious element: water. 


Commissioned by the Duchess of Parma Marie Louise, the Gallery delle Fontane was built in 1841. It replaced the pre-existing section of the aqueduct built under Ottavio Farnese in 1570 and made it easier to inspect the aqueduct pipes in the urban stretch of the city, so that officials could monitor and repair any leaks. This initiative is considered one of the first interventions dedicated to the theme of sustainability and aimed at reducing waste.

In the 19th century, private connections were few and often common for one or more buildings. Domestic distribution had to wait for a new aqueduct, which was inaugurated on July 15, 1900. The route (200 meters) starts from the Parma Tourist Office in Piazza Garibaldi and ends, rising to the surface, at the cafeteria of the Feltrinelli bookstore in Via Farini.

Before the entrance to the gallery, additional underground spaces tell the story of water catchment in Parma from the Roman foundation (with the first two city aqueducts) through the medieval period, characterized by the use of wells and the creation of canals that made Parma seem like a small Venice.

Know Before You Go

The entrance is inside the Parma Tourist Office in Garibaldi Square, where more information can be obtained. For security reasons, the tour is forbidden to heart patients, people with respiratory diseases, and those with claustrophobia. Good walking shoes are recommended.

The gallery can be visited only at certain times of the year and bookings are mandatory. The visit takes place accompanied and reservations can be made by writing to . Regular ticket costs 10 Euro.

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