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A city inhabited before the Roman conquest by the Ligurian Statielli. Discoveries of rough-hewn flint and small knives found in the valley of the railroad bridge toward Ovada and in the higher part of the site give evidence that this area was inhabited in Neolithic times.

Pliny mentions the city among the civitates of the Augustan Regio IX and remarks that its inhabitants, at the time of the war between the Ligurians and the Romans, were taken prisoner by the Romans and reduced to slavery. However, they were later freed and allotted lands beyond the Po.

The interest of the Romans in this capital of the Statielli was mainly strategic for the city was at the junction of two great communication arteries: the Aemilia Scauri (later the Julia Augusta)—which, from Vada Sabatia and from the sea, went as far as Dertona to join the Via Postumia, which united the large centers of the E Po valley—and another road which, passing Alba, permitted direct communication with Augusta Taurinorum and the Alpine passes beyond.

Numerous finds from the interior of the modern city illuminate the Roman passion for bathing establishments. The city was rich in spas and monumental buildings around Fonte Bollente. A large aqueduct, bringing water from the Erro river, a few km upstream from the city, approached the city by following the slope of the valley. Running underground, the aqueduct then joined the territory of the Acqui, across the Bormida, on arches of a truly grand Roman scale.

Today eight large piers of this marvelous work remain on the flat right bank sloping toward the river. Particularly majestic are seven others with low, ogival arches. These follow the river bed, their walls covered by small squares of local stone.

A series of tombs discovered at the perimeter of the city define its boundaries and have supplied notable archaeological finds from the first centuries of the Empire. A mosaic pavement has inscriptions which mention L. Ullatius and L. Valerius, high officials of the town, who constructed or reconstructed the chambers, pavimenta, and tecta of the building.


G. Biorci, Antichità e prerogative della città di Acqui Tortona (1818-20); V. Scati, “Antichità Acquensi,” Atti della Società Piemontese di Archeologia e Belle Arti (1887) 30ff; id., “Scoperta di un nuovo acquedotto romano in Acqui,” Rivista di Storia Arte e Archeologia della Provincia di Alessandria 2 (1892); id., “La fonte bollente in Acqui e gli edifici eretti intorno alla medesima,” op.cit. (1898) 23ff; U. Mazzini, “Piscina romana,” NSc (1922) 200ff.


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