Talijanova Buža

The Italians' Hole - Rimski vodovod - Roman Aqueduct

Useful Information

Location: Ul. kralja Zvonimira 27, 53291, Novalja.
In Novaljy, Zvonimirova Street, in front of the Town Hall. Island Pag, Dalmatia.
(44.558170, 14.883252)
Open: All year Mon-Fri 8-15.
Fee: Adults EUR 3, Children EUR 2, Guide EUR 7.03.
Classification: SubterraneaWater Supply Roman aqueduct
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=1,024 m, W=60 cm, H=1-2.3 m.
Guided tours: L=150 m.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: V. Bozic (2002): The Roman Aqueduct of Novalja, 3rd International Symposium on Souterrains, Starigrad Paklenica (Croatia), 15.-18.9.2000 (Zagreb 2002) 46-51.
Boris Ilakovac (1994): Javni zdenac (lacus) rimskog akvedukta Škopalj-Novalja na Pagu, (The public well (lacus) of the roman aqueduct Škopalj-Novalja on the island of Pag), in: Radovi Zavoda za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Zadru. Sv. 36 (1994) / glavni i odgovorni urednik Mate Suic. ISSN 1330-0474. pp 1-5.
Address: Gradski muzej Novalja, Ulica kralja Zvonimir 27, 53291, Novalja, Tel: +385-53-661-160. E-mail:
Novalja Tourist Board, Trg Brišćić 1, 53291 Novalja, Tel: +385-53-661-404. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1st century aqueduct built by the Romans.
19th century rediscovered.
1853 first described in the travel notebook of Mijat Sabljar.
1912 reactivated aqueduct inaugurated.


The Talijanova Buža (lit. Italians' Hole) is a Roman aqueduct, built in the 1st century to provide drinking water for the town and the harbour of Novalja, the center of the island. Italians' Hole is a joke about its Roman origin, and we found the name quite charming. But in the age of political correctness overkill, they now call it Antički vodovod (ancient waterworks). The 1400 m long tunnel connected the Roman city Cissa Portunata, today a small hamlet called Caska, with Novalja and its harbour. It was cut through massive limestone, with nine ventilation shafts.

It is generally estimated that the tunnel was built in the 1st century, but there is actually no way to date it. Inside wood was used to stabilize a crack in the ceiling, and the C14 dating of the wood said beginning of the 3rd century. So this was when this repair was made and the aqueduct was obviously still in use. In Late Antiquity the bay of Novalja was an important port, probably also an important pilgrimage center, so historians think it was still in use. But at some point the island and the city became unimportant people left, the remaining inhabitants were not able to keep the aqueduct in working condition, and finally it was abandoned and forgotten.

There is a legend that a child fell into a hole under Lunjsko put, and when the locals were widening the whole to rescue the child, they discovered an impressive underground channel. The locals had fantastic theories about the origin of this structure, but even then the archaeologists correctly interpreted it as Roman aqueduct. As a result, the locals dubbed it Talijanova Buža (Italians' Hole). The structure soon became a tourist site, visitors climbe into the tunnel. The first written mention is actually a description with a sketch in the travel notebook of Mijat Sabljar in 1853.

In the early 20th century, before World War I under Austro-Hungarian rule, the authorities tried to reactivate the aqueduct for drinking water. They attempted to reuse it by pumping water from the Škopalj spring. They installed a pump powered by a windmill, which pumped the water from the spring into a cistern. From here it flowed through pipes which were installed in the tunnel and distributed to three fountains. This new construction was inaugurated in 1912, but only six years later with the outbreak of Worldf War I it was abandoned.

At first the visit was possible starting from Zvonimirova Street, in the center of Novalja right in front of the Town Hall. Today the tunnel is a part of the Gradski muzej Novalja (City Museum Novalja). Visitors are equipped with helmets and headlamps and can explore the first 150 m of the 1,024 m long tunnel.