Arcazzi – Anagni, Italy - Atlas Obscura


Although their purpose is unknown, these ancient Roman supporting arches showcase Hellenistic ingenuity.  


Dating back to the end of the 3rd century B.C., the Arcazzi di Piscina are two massive hemicycle-shaped travertine arches that support the walls of Anagni. The use of the arch technique and the heavy stones in opus quadratum, allow for equal weight distribution across the entire structure. 

Although the true purpose of the structure is unknown, it’s believed to have been a dam of sorts, or some type of defensive structure used to protect the city.

According to local lore, the Arcazzi was known as the “theatre” or the “swimming pool.” This was due to their proximity to the ancient baths constructed by Fabius Valens, a famous Roman commander. It’s believed the design was inspired by Hellenistic knowledge of fortification design. 

Guests to the arches may spot a curious artifact located on one of the central pillars. A phallic symbol carved from stone was crafted into the design of the structure. During the ancient Roman period, phallic symbols were often used to ward off evil spirits.  

Know Before You Go

Hours on Saturday: 9:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m./ 3:00 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.

Hours Sunday: 9:30 a.m,- 1:00 p.m. / 3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

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April 21, 2020

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