Bottini in Siena
A fascinating network of 25 km of tunnels
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Monday to Friday: 9.00 a.m. – 1.30 p.m. or by sending an email to email@example.com (indicating the date required, number of participants and contact phone number). When you book, availability on your requested date will be verified and you will be notified of payment options.
Visits to the Bottini are not recommended for children under 8, people with disabilities, or anyone suffering from heart disease, respiratory problems or claustrophobia.
The Bottini are a network of underground aqueducts that still supply the city’s historic fountains: historic engineering assets that the municipality of Siena has tried to improve and promote, while respecting their fragility. The term “buctinus”, probably referring to their barrel-vaulting (volta a “botte”), appears for the first time in a document of 1226 and shows the origin of these underground aqueducts.
Siena, due to its hilly position and lack of major water courses, has always had to find other means of supplying water and built this ingenious system of excavated tunnels, which you can now visit on foot. The whole ancient water supply system, which has 25 kilometres of main pipes and supply branches, is a fundamental element of the history and culture of the city: until 1914 the Bottini and their fountains were the only source of water in Siena. There are two main branches of the bottini, the older of which is the master Bottino of Fontebranda, which lies at a notable depth and brings water from Fontebecci to the Fonte di Fontebranda; the other is the master Bottino of Fonte Gaia, built around 1300, which feeds the fountain in the Piazza del Campo, Fonte Gaia, and, through its overflow, other smaller fountains as well. With the aim of protecting, renovating and improving these spaces and of increasing knowledge about them – with the respect and attention they deserve – visits by small groups, accompanied by volunteers of the Associazione La Diana (Diana Association), are now allowed in some parts of the Bottini: the Fonte Nuova branch and a section of the main branch of Fonte Gaia. The Museo dell’Acqua (Museum of Water), which is at the Fonti di Pescaia, is also well worth a visit.