TOWERS, URNS AND CASTLETS. HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OF ANCIENT SYSTEMS OF WATER SUPPLY AND CONVEYANCE IN PALERMO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The remains of the water distribution system in use in Palermo until the early 20th century, are still visible in some streets. The castella dividicula that is a system of catchment and distribution basins. The castella dividicula included a system of urns, towers and castlets places to a piezometric level equal to the dimension of the source, exploiting the principle of connecting vases. The perpetuation of disuse and the intensification of construction activity has meant that many of these artifacts disappear, incorporated within buildings, courtyards, light wells or abandoned as ruins at the corner of a square or along a street. In the centuries they were considered secondary or minor constructions, especially the architecturally poorest, some just left architectural tracing, other memories only. Others still maintain intact the structure and the masonry. Many are modified from their original visus owing to the time wear and the structural metamorphosis, accomplished over the years. Still others despite having lost the original purpose, constitute structuring urban spaces architectural elements, becoming connotative elements for a square or a courtyard. From these considerations comes the study, conducted at the Department of architecture of the Polytechnic School of the University of Palermo. It is a journey through the time that drove us to rediscover a part of our history, of our past, of an ancient system and now forgotten but that fits fully into the urban fabric of the city. About the elements still present in the territory of Palermo, 101 are currently registered. The analysis conducted, supported by photographic and architectural reliefs and by information obtained in archives, libraries and sometimes by the inhabitants of urban areasvisited, also allowed to study the technological evolution linked to these structures, both in the use of materials, both in construction techniques and formal expression. The work of census has resulted, inter alia, in a filing with the purpose of providing information about localization, fonts, type, structural analysis, the state of conservation of listed artifact and raise attention of public administrations on these isolated artifacts that can be defined monuments as documents of the history and culture of a country and of a civilization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalSUSTAINABLE MEDITERRANEAN CONSTRUCTION
VolumeSMC N. 3 - 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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