This paper was published in Transactions (Vol. 2) of the Twelfth International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage, Fort Collins, USA, 1984, organised by the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID).

Etruscan cuniculi: tunnels for the collection of pure water

Franco Ravelli 1 - Paula J. Howarth


The cuniculi found in the volcanic tufo in and around Rome (similar to the kanats of Iran) were excavated by the Etruscans mainly for the collection of drinking water, and, secondly, in some cases, for drainage and irrigation purposes. Today most cuniculi have dried up; a few still collect a small amount of water. However, in Etruscan times the climate was wetter. Cuniculi are evidence of the high level of civilization achieved by the rural population of that time.

1. Presentation and features of cuniculi
2. Authors who have written about cuniculi
3. Other considerations on cuniculi
4. Cuniculi used for the collection of drinking water
5. Cuniculi used for other purposes
6. Conclusion
- Bibliography

1 Cassa per il Mezzogiorno, Via Giorgione 21a, 00147 Rome, Italy (closed in 1993).