Museo dell'Acqua

Museo dell'Acqua, Siena: Address, Museo dell'Acqua Reviews: 4.5/5

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Museo dell'Acqua

Museo dell'Acqua
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1-2 hours
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39 reviews
Very good

Sydney, Australia6,776 contributions
Excellent multi-media exhibits, models and presentations to explain how Siena supplied its own water until 1914.
Jun 2019
This excellent museum is located outside of the city walls and in a three storey building that sits above the Pescaia water source. There is limited parking nearby. The museum was opened in 2010 and seeks to use a range of excellent multimedia devices including mechanical installations, video projectors, TV monitors, different coloured lighting, broadcasting, audio and sensory systems to tell the amazing story of how the Sienese people from the 1300's until 1914 supplied water to this hilltop city which had no direct access to a river and no external aqueduct.

We used the internet to book tickets to visit this museum and they cost EUR 10-00 per adult. I understand that tours are only run at certain times because the guides are largely volunteers. Our guide, Serena, was very good and spoke some English but preferred to speak in Italian. Unfortunately all of the written descriptions, video and audio are in Italian. The fact that my wife spoke some Italian helped us to greatly enjoy the visit although, to be fair, some of the exhibits were so good they were almost self explanatory.

The tour is spread over the three floors of the building before you go down into one of the tunnels for a short walk. There were over 30 steps between each of the floors and further steps down to the tunnels and I did not see a lift so wheelchair access would be difficult. The tour lasted over an hour.

Siena's entire ancient water supply system is an amazing engineering feat and stretches for about 25 kilometres through tunnels, called Bottini, that were excavated into the sandstone and other rock under the city to join up major water sources. The Bottini captured the rain water that seeped through the sandstone, captured it and then supplied it to various water fountains and sources around the city. One of the exhibits shows how the workmen used ancient tools and instruments to get the required slopes so that the water could flow downhill and to accurately find the various fountains.around the city.

The Bottini and the associated tunnels and fountains were Siena's only water supply system up until 1914 when a new aqueduct was built to direct water from the Vivo springs to the city. However it took another four years before the majority of the houses in the town had running tap water. The aqueduct was bombed during WWII so the Sienese went back to using water from the Bottini until the aqueduct was repaired.

Well worth a visit.

I understand that longer tours that just involve exploring the underground Bottini are periodically held but you need to ask in advance when these are to be as they sell out fast.
Written September 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Oxfordshire, UK16 contributions
Fascinating visit (5 stars), misleading prior information about booking it (2 stars)
Jan 2019 • Couples
From different places around the city, including tourist information, we received strangely contradictory information about opening times and how to book (this was in January). In the end we found out that it is open on a Sunday morning, with English translation available, and arranged booking through our hotel, the very helpful Hotel Italia. The actual visit was fascinating and there are entertaining and informative visual aids about Siena's probably unique water situation. We had 2 guides for just 2 of us.
Written March 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Florence, Italy10,555 contributions
Unnecessarily uncomfortable process to visit this museum
May 2015 • Friends
The Association "Diana" takes care of organizing the visits to the channels which in the Middle Ages were dug under the city of Siena to tackle the critical water shortage in the city.
A visit so demanding and suggestive justify the uncomfortable process that is required for the visit itself: a reservation request, an advance payment by mail or bank (you can not pay cash or by credit card).
This process doesn't seem justifiable to visit this museum, which after all is a traditional museum, and which - recently opened - allows a complete understanding of the water problem in Siena in the Middle Ages.
The museum shows in particular the construction and operation of underground tight channels (called "bottini") extending for 25 km, and that allowed the water supply in Siena since the thirteenth century until 1915; when it opened the "Vivo" aqueduct, that brings water from Monte Amiata, 60 km south of Siena.
The tours are guided and take place in small groups (no more than a dozen people) in the three floors of the museum (which occupies the medieval "Fonte di Pescaia") and in a short stretch of the "bottino" that feeds the Fonte.
There are sophisticated audiovisual equipment and other devices, which appropriately attract the interest on the issue. Solution indeed obliged, because this is a virtual museum, which doesn't present pieces noteworthy for antiquities or art.
The visitor finally comes out well informed about everything related to the water in Siena. Too bad because for visit he should face the unpleasant process that I have described
Written May 24, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Staunton, VA159 contributions
A surprising experience - a pain in the neck to organize the visit
Aug 2013 • Business
If you have already seen the touristic part of Siena, take an afternoon to go here. You have to call however before going (3355466389), write a written request in Italian (, pay at the post office the day before going. The place is beautiful, but if you do not start organizing your trip here one month in advance, it's impossible to go.
Also, bring a bottle of water with you... even if they are a museum of "water" they don't sell it!
Written July 1, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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