March 3, 2017
The Stations of the cross line the path between the Catacombs and the Church of St Sebastian.
The ruins of the Circus Maxentious are a fun place to run around and explore as you journey on the Appia Antica.
Open to visit, and eerily quiet, the empty tomb of Romulus was disconcerting.
I stepped inside the tomb of Romulus and was surrounded by silence and darkness – the lone presence in this dark, empty cavern.
Catching the beautiful light along the Appia Antica
From the Appia Antica you have a beautiful view of the Lazio countryside.
Large and small remnants of tombs line the Appia Antica
Small fragments are all that remain of the intricate decorations on some of the tombs.
Details that remain on a tomb on the Appia Antica.
From the pastures along the Appia Antica, you can see the sprawling skyline of Rome in the distance.
Exploring the Appia Antica on horseback gives you a new perspective.
There are several places to stop for a bite to eat along the Appia Antica.
Near the Tomb of Cecelia, a biker gets ready to take off.
Visitors to the Appia Antica can stroll or bike along the ancient roads. Unfortunately, the road is also open to automobile traffic every day except Sunday.
In places, the old stones are preserved among the newer stones on the Appia Antica
Everyone is welcome on the Appia Antical
Several modern villas line the Appia Antica.
The Appia Antica Stretches ahead.
You probably don’t expect to encounter flocks of sheep and goats on the outskirts of Rome.
Horses near the Appia Antica
In its heyday, the Appia Antica ran from the Roman Forum to Brindisi a port town on the coast of what is today Southern Puglia. Construction on the road began in 312 BC under the censor Appius Claudis Caecus and was completed in 244 BC. While much of the original 350 miles (563km) are gone, within the Parco Regionale Dell’Appia Antica remnants of the original road survive to this day.
The Appia Antica is one of my favorite places to explore. Although it is just to the south of the city, the park seems like another world, where you’re as likely to encounter sheep and horses as you are cars, bicycles and joggers.
Along the way, you’ll stumble across churches, catacombs, tombs and homes – both currently occupied and ancient ruins, like the Complesso di Massenzio. On this enormous complex, that was once the site of the emperor’s villa, you can run along the remains of a giant circus and explore the eerily silent tomb of his son Romulus.
Not far from the Complesso you’ll find one of the most recognizable symbols of the Appian Antica – the tomb of Cecelia. This tomb is thought to have been built for either the wife or daughter-in-law of Marcus Crassus, a contemporary of Julius Caesar. The tomb of Seneca, the Catacombs of San Callisto and San Sebastiano, and the spot where St Peter encountered Jesus in what is now the Church Domine quo Vadis are just a few of the incredible monuments you’ll encounter on your journey. The information center at Via Appia Antica 58/60 is very helpful and offers free maps as well as maps to purchase. You can find an interactive map on the official Appia Antica Website.
The atmosphere of the Appian Way is spectacular. You’ll find yourself transported through the ages as you stand among the same stones that the figures you’ve read about in your history books traveled on over the centuries.
I find it amazing that many of the original stones are still in the ground. In places, they are intermixed with modern cobblestones, but they remain. Etched deeply in places with continued use, but through everything, they are there still.
I have not tried to get there by public transportation, but you can visit the park by bus. The 118, 218 and 660 bus lines all have stops on the Via Appia Antica. If you wish to plan your trip by bus, I find MouversiRoma and Google Maps to be great help when I travel by public transportation in Rome.
Stop by the DailyPost and see what others have found on their journey down the road taken.