Ancient Rome Appian Way


Road to the Catacombs

Sunday afternoon I visited the Appian Way, “ancient Rome’s most important military and economic artery”. Built in 312 BC, the road is one of the “oldest roads in existence” and called the “Queen of Roads”!

19th Century Domine Quo Vadis Church
History

“The Appian Way was a crucial road for the Roman Empire. It connected Rome to its most distant settlements. Originally built by Appius Claudius Caecus, the censor of Rome, the road connected Rome to Capua near Naples. Eventually, it extended more than 300 miles to the Adriatic Coast, making it the widest and longest road in existence at the time.”

Catacomb San Callisto
Road to Catacombs

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The Appian Way is best seen on bicycle using worn dirt tracks along the road.

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Catacombs of San Callisto
Catacombs of San Callisto
Along Appian Way
Appian Way
Entrance San Callisto Catacombs

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In 71 BC, before the road was built, gladiator and slave leader Spartacus was crucified on Via Appia.

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Near Catacombs
Rome in the Background
Catacombs of San Sebastian
Statues Appian Way
Statue Near the Catacombs

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“The road is made of large, flat stones firmly set in place by thousands of years of rain, wheels, and feet passing over them….”

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Vista Near Porta San Sebastián
Getting There

The Appian Way starts at Via Appia south of the Coliseum. Circo Massimo metro station is the best access point. For me, getting there was an effort and required connecting through metro lines A and B, and then taking a bus. It’s a beautiful area, and I enjoyed the afternoon despite the heat. On Sundays, cars are not permitted.

Villa Appian Way
Well-Preserved Pavement

I walked the incredibly well-preserved road and visited the Catacombs of San Sebastiano and San Callisto. The road is made of “large, flat stones firmly set in place by thousands of years of rain, wheels, and feet passing over them”.

Stones Appian Way1

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“The Ancient Appian Way was the first and greatest, a surviving testament to the mighty Roman Empire.”

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Stones Appian Way3

Walking gives you a funny feeling wondering whose footsteps previously passed on the historical road. You imagine emperors like Julius Caesar, merchants, saints, and even St. Peter.

Along Appian Way
Catacombs and Points of Interest

You can continue for miles though about 30 roads fanning out from Rome. Beginning at Porta San Sebastián, there are various points of interest:

Roman Ruins

“The Ancient Appian Way was the first and greatest, a surviving testament to the mighty Roman Empire. The road is strewn with historic tombs and ruins, all nearly unchanged since the 4th century.” There’s so much ancient Roman history along the Appian Way – you need time there to absorb it all!

Catacombs of San Callisto
Dedication to My Parents

This post is dedicated with love to the memory of my mother and father whose birthdays are June 10 and 11th.

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