Via Appia Antica : Michelin's recommendations
The Appian Way, which led to Capua and Brindisi, was opened in 312 B.C. and its construction was initiated by Consul Appius Claudius Caecus. Like many roads leading out of towns, it quickly became a necropolis, as burials were forbidden within the city gates. It is dotted with remains of Roman monuments and is famous for its catacombs: underground tunnels, several levels deep, dug by Christians to bury their dead. Digging began in the 3rd century and the catacombs were much frequented by devout pilgrims, when martyrs were laid to rest there after persecutions. It is, however, falsely believed that crowds of Christians took refuge there, in order to escape from these persecutions, and lived underground. Such refuge would have been most unsafe, as the Imperial authorities knew the exact location of each catacomb. You can explore the Via Antica on foot, from the Domine Quo Vadis church to the tomb of Cecilia Metella, as, apart from the catacombs, you can also see ancient monuments. But, why not spend a Saturday exploring this road by bicycle and see the Roman countryside as far as Casal Rotondo ? Landscapes or tombs and ruined aqueducts, with shades of near-red ochre, mixed with the deep green of cypress and pine trees, are superb, then. Also, you can enjoy the fact that motor vehicles are prohibited on that day, as Roman motorists are notoriously uncharitable as soon as they sit behind a steering wheel !
- Address : v. ppia Antica I - 00179 Roma00179Roma