Todi Sotterranea

Underground Todi

Useful Information

Location: Todi
Open: APR to OCT Tue-Sun, Hol 10-13:30, 15-18.
NOV to MAR Sat, Sun, Hol 10:30-13, 14:30-17.
Classification: SubterraneaWater Supply SubterraneaSewage
Guided tours:
Address: Todi Sotterranea, Via Andrea Vici, 06059 Todi PG, Tel: +39-328-081-0989.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1859 explored and mapped by Leandro Astancolle.
1974 explored by the Gruppo Speleologico Todi.
1994 12-room Roman cistern discovered and explored by Gruppo Speleologico Todi at the Piazza del Popolo (Via del Monte).


The city Todi was built on an isolated hill composed of loose sediments like sand and gravel. This results in an enormous danger of landslides, especially after rains. The major needs are obviously stabilizing the underground and avoiding water by redirecting it back to the surface.. But there is also the need for drinking water, and this meant using the springs of the hill itself and collecting rainwater. In a way this is actually the same, as the springs are also rainwater. And finally there was the need to transport sewage away from the city, again because of the danger of landslide and obviously to keep the drinking water clean.

In Roman times there were numerous cisterns built in stone and brick masonry called Opus Caementicium. The biggest is located under Piazza del Popolo and has 12 chambers. The first tunnels and cisterns were from the Roman times, between 2nd century BC and 476 AD. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire the underground system suffered a slow degradation. It had to be restored in 1262 because of the strong urban growth and the increased needs. This was sufficient for centuries, until the 18th century with the next phase of expansion.

In 1859 the surveyor of the municipality of Todi Leandro Astancolle was commissioned to create the new city map. He explored the city and the underground water network, and added the tunnels to the map. He also used the report Ristretto estimativo desunto dal piano di esecuzione dei lavori a riparazione delle rovine della città, cap. II°- 1858, the execution plan for the repair works. Both documents are still available at the Municipal Historical Archive of Todi.

The whole system of aqueducts and cisterns became obsolete in 1925 when a modern system of water pipes was installed in the city. Some tunnels were filled in, most were simply forgotten.

Modern exploration started in 1974, when the Gruppo Speleologico Todi explored and surveyed the tunnels. They found 37 tunnels, of which 27 were explored and 10 are blocked. They also found 484 underground springs, 193 active and 293 dry and mostly filled with debris, and 35 cisterns, some still holding water. But the most spectacular discovery was the 12-room Roman cistern at Piazza del Popolo (Via del Monte) which was discovered in 1994.