Via Appia (Rome).
Year of visit: 2017
Subject: Ancient Time, Roman Empire.
Via Appia (Antica) was one of the main roads of the Roman Empire. That is why the road starts at one of the most important city gates of Rome; de Porta San Sebastiano (or Porta Appia). From this city gate, the Via Appia continues south-east along Capua all the way to Brindisi at the Adriatic Sea.
The Via Appia was built in 312 BC. and was primarily intended to move Roman troops quickly. However, the road also became of great economic importance. It was a busy trade route travelled by heavily loaded carts. At many places you can still find worn traces of these carts in the road.
Much of the Via Appia, with its original pavers, is traceable in the landscape. It’s really nice to hike parts of this road when you visit Rome. But take enough water with you, because it can be quite warm during summer. There are some taps with drinking water at various places along the route where you can refill your bottle.
Along the Via Appia you will find many remains of tombs and catacombs. It was forbidden to bury people within the city walls of Rome. Many tombs were therefore built outside the city and this was also the case along the Via Appia. Highly recommended are the catacombs of San Sebastiano, which you can easily reach by bus.
From the catacombs of San Sebastiano you can hike a long part of the Via Appia. Especially starting from the ruins of the Circus of Maxentius (about 2 kms outside the city walls of Rome) the road leads you over the original pavement along beautiful cypress trees and ruins from ancient Roman times. With a bit of luck you will be accompanied by one of the many cats you encounter on the way and often decide they want to hike along with you for a while.
During this lovely hike it will become clear why the Romans nicknamed this road 'regina viarum' (the queen of roads).