Appian Way in Rome

The Appian Way (Via Appia) is the "highway" of ancient timesconnecting Rome with Brundisium (lat. Brundisium). 540 km long cobblestone path appeared in the 4th century BC in order to connect the capital of the Roman Empire with strategically important neighbors: Greece, Egypt, Asia.


According to the chronicle "History from the founding of the city", the main part of the road was built during 312 BC. Its occurrence is recorded in the track record of the censor (high official) of Rome - Appia Tseka (lat. Appius Caecus).

Previously, there was a well-equipped tract, allowing you to get from Rome to Calvi (lat. Calvi). Appius planned to make a larger reconstruction of the roads, which he spent most of the treasury on. Historical chronicles have testified that builders had to carefully plan the hilly terrain. Then, the compacted soil was covered with hewn layers of volcanic basalt.

Construction stages

In 312 BC the first part of the Appian Way was built - a 195 km stretch leading to Capua (Capua). The new path served primarily military purposes. The protracted war between the Romans and the Samnites required decisive action on the part of the rulers of Rome.

In the 3rd century BC Appius acquired the status of a dictator. The Roman ruler decided to strengthen the position of the state in the Campania region. To this end, the Appian Way was continued to Beneventum (lat. Beneventum).

In the 2nd century BC the Romans decided to break the shortest path to the Balkan Peninsula. Extending the Appian Way from Beneventum to Brundisia, Rome got direct access to the Egnatius road (lat.Via Egnatia), leading to the countries of the East. Thus, the economic position of the empire was strengthened.


Initially, the Appian Way served for the benefit of the military, then it gained economic and cultural aspects. According to contemporaries, the unwritten name "Queen of the Roads" acquired a new path.

A stone-paved ribbon framed by umbrella pines survived the legendary Rome. Its importance was noted by the Byzantine emperors, the head of the Ostrogoths Theodorich the Great (German: Theoderich der Große) and all the rulers who ruled in Rome until the Middle Ages. Then, the "ancient path" was left to the pilgrims traveling to the holy places.

It is noteworthy that along the Appian Way passes one of the branches of the Catacombe of Rome (Catacombe di Roma). The early Christian martyrs and pontiffs found their rest in underground caves along the main road. Numerous monuments created during the time of the Roman state, over time, were destroyed, reconstructed, or served as a source of donated building materials.

In the late Middle Ages, the Appian Way, in fact, lost its functions, it was partially dismantled, and for the most part it was covered with a new roadbed. In the 18-19th century, extensive excavations took place in the vicinity of the historical route. Ancient artifacts scattered into hundreds of private collections and museums.


The Appian Way began its reckoning with the Capeni Gate (lat. Porta Capena) in Rome, which are now almost completely destroyed.

The first settlement outside the Aurelian wall (lat. Mura Aureliane) is the town of Ariccia. A milestone marking 88 km of track is a city in the Lazio - Terracina region. Then follow: Fondi and Formia, standing on the 142 kilometer of the Queen of Roads. The cities of Minturno and Sinuessa (now: Mondragone) are intermediate on the way to Capua (now: Santa Maria Capua Vetere, (Santa Maria Capua Vetere)) in the Campania region.

The map of the Appian Way lasted for the way to Benevento, Venusia, Tarentum (lat. Tarentum), Uria (lat. Uria). The final point of the route (540 km) is in the port city of Brindisi in the Puglia region. Horse riding from Rome to Brundisia was about 15 days!


The Appian Way received a peculiar marking in one Roman mile (1478 m). As milestones, poles (lat. Colonna miliaria) with memorial plaques in honor of the emperors who ruled in Rome were used. Nowadays, you can only look at the pillar of the 1st mile and the column symbolizing the end of the path to Brindisi.

According to the Law of 12 tables, adopted in Rome in 450 BC it was forbidden to bury the dead in the capital.

Until the 2nd century BC Columbaria (lat. columbarium) of rich families, in which urns with ashes were stored, were lined along pavers. Subsequently, the tradition of burning the dead was transformed into funeral ceremonies. Thus, whole necropolises began to appear in the underground caves of tufa. Separate attention deserves the tombs, which sometimes have very impressive dimensions and intricate shapes.

First mile

  • Tomb of Scipios (Latin Sepulcrum Scipionum) belonged to an influential Roman family. It arose among the first tombs in the 3rd century. BC. Once again I saw a white light in the 18th century, several elements migrated from the tomb to the Vatican museums.
  • The crypt of Pomponius Hila (Latin Pomponius Hylas) has a modest size, belonged to the freedman of the emperor Pomponius and his family.
  • Gate of St. Sebastian (lat.Porta San Sebastiano), in the past - the Appian Gate (lat.Porta Appia) were built in the 3rd century. AD ruler Aurelian. In the 5th century, a simple arch was decorated with a superstructure in the form of two towers with a toothed decor. Inside the gate there is the Museum of the Wall (Museo della Mura), working hours: Tue-Sun from 9:00 to 14:00, admission is free.
    Official site:
  • The first milestone column is installed 100 m from the Appian Gate. An authentic pillar is located on Capitol Square, a copy of it is installed on the road.
  • The tomb of Priscilla (Latin Sepulcrum Priscilla) was built during the time of the emperor Domitian (Titus Flavius ​​Domitianus) for the wife of the freedman Flavius ​​Abascant. A large rectangular structure in the past was richly decorated with travertine. In the Middle Ages, an observation tower was installed over the ancient catacombs of Priscilla.
  • Church of Dominee Quo Vadis (lat. Domine quo vadis?), real name - Santa Maria in Palmis. Modest sanctuary located in a wonderful place where Jesus Christ appeared to the apostle Peter. By this time, the soldiers burned with fire and sword all the Christians of the capital. To Peter's question: "Where are you going, Lord?" Jesus replied: "I am going to Rome for a second crucifix." Peter fell at the feet of the son of God and directed his feet to Rome, where he was captured and died the death of a martyr. The church has a plate with footprints of Jesus.

Second mile

  • Catacombs of St. Callisto (Catacombe di San Callisto) - extensive early Christian catacombs of 2-4 centuries A.D. Opening hours: from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00. Ticket price: 8 euros - full, 5 euros - preferential, children under 6 years old - free of charge.
    Official site:
  • Column of Pius IX - a stella of gray stone by Luigi Canina.
  • Catacombs of St. Sebastian (Catacombe di San Sebastiano), in the past simply "catacombs" - lat. "ad catacumbas". Early Christian burials located under the Basilica of San Sebastiano (Basilica San Sebastiano). Opening hours: Mon-Sat from 10:00 to 17:00. Ticket price: 8 euros - full, 5 euros - preferential, children under 6 years old - free of charge.
    Official site:

  • Tomb of Romulus (Latin Sepulcrum Romulus) and Circus Maxentius (Circo di Massenzio) were built in the 4th century AD in honor of the son and father, ruler Maxentius. The ruins are a museum, admission is free, opening hours: Tue-Sun from 10:00 to 16:00.
    Official site:
  • The tomb of Cecili Metella (Latin Sepulcrum Caecilia Metella) arose in the 1st century BC to become the last refuge for Cecilia, daughter of Quintus Metellus, the Roman consul. Large structure: a round tower 30 m in diameter and 11 m high, in the 13th century it received a fortification view.

Third mile

  • The ruins of the Church of Sant Nicola a Capo di Bove (Sant Nicola a Capo di Bove) are located near the walls of the tomb of Cecilia. The construction of the 14th century served as a rare example of classical Gothic.
  • Basalt pavement is well preserved on this site., you can find out how the Appian Way looked in its original form.
  • The tomb of Marc Servilius (Latin Sepulcrum Marcus Servilius) is an ancient crypt decorated with reliefs, the facade of which was restored by Antonio Canova in the 19th century.

Fourth mile

  • Tomb of the sons of Sextus Pompey (Latin Sepulcrum Sextus Pompeus) - Built by Sextus Pompey for his early sons. The grief of his father burst out in verses printed on the wall of the tomb.
  • Tomb of St. Urban (Mausoleo di Sant'Urbano martire) preserves the peace of the Roman bishop from the 4th century AD

  • The tomb of Hilaria Fusca (Sepolcro di Hilarus Fuscus) suffered from time. Thanks to the efforts of Luigi Canin, you can see the wall of the building, decorated with a relief plaque depicting the Fusca family.
  • The Cenotaph of Ann Regilla (Cenotaph Annia Regilla) - a noblewoman who lived in Rome in the 2nd century AD, made of brick.
  • The pyramidal tomb is interesting for its unusual shape, reminiscent of the Egyptian pyramids.

  • Tomb of the Rabirievs (Latin: Sepulcrum Rabirii) was also restored by Kanina. The architect restored the relief decorating the facade of the tomb from the parts found during excavations: an image of Guy Rabirius and his wife.

Fifth mile

  • Tomb of the Curiazius (Latin Sepulcrum Curiacii) It has an elongated cylindrical shape, located on a high hill near the Appian Way. Once in this area there was a battle of the Roman family of Horace and Curation.
  • Villa Quintili (Villa dei Quintili) was erected in the first half of the 2nd century by the brothers Kondin and Massimo Quintili. The wealth and success of the Kvintiliev aroused envy in the emperor Commodus, who executed the brothers and confiscated their mansion. The villa was rebuilt and expanded, turning into one of the emperor's residences. The statues discovered during excavations of the villa were moved to the museums of the Vatican, the Louvre and Monaco.

  • Casal rotondo - A rounded squat tomb dating from the times of the Roman Republic. It is believed that she served as a tomb for Messalo Corvino, a high Roman official of the 1st century. BC. Currently, it is based on a rural house, decorated with greenery.

Sixth Mile - Brindisi

Throughout the 6th mile of the Appian Way, there are monuments and tombs made in the form of rectangular monuments of basalt, tuff and brick.

At around 7 miles, the traveler will be near the Ciampino Airport (distance - less than a kilometer). The most remarkable archaeological site of the rest of the famous path is the remains of the Temple of Jupiter Anskur (lat.Jupiter Anxur), located in Terracina.

Modern life

In 1988, part of the territory of Rome, along with the Appian Way, acquired the status of an archaeological park (Parco Regionale Della'Appia Antica). Most of the old tract is already covered with asphalt, however, the strongest fragments of the roadway are preserved in their original form. On weekends and holidays, historical travel is prohibited.

In art

The Appian Way looks so extraordinary that it managed to make a great impression on the painters. The most ancient are engravings of Giovanni Piranesi of the 18th century. The Tretyakov Gallery exhibited the canvas "The Appian Way at Sunset", by Alexander Ivanov, a Russian artist of the 19th century. The neighborhood of Via Appia turned out to be no less picturesque to the American John Chapman, who wrote a cycle of 10 paintings at the end of the 19th century.

The Italian composer of the 20th century, Ottorino Respighi, in 1924 wrote a grandiose piece of music “Pines of Rome” to be performed by a symphony orchestra. No less talented conductor Herbert von Karajan embodied this work in the walls of famous concert halls around the world. Part of the concert, entitled “Pines of the Appian Way”, sounds especially dramatic and alarming.

How to get there

The easiest way to get to the Appian Way is from the walls of the Colosseum. The travel route is as follows: south along Via Celio Vibenna and Via di San Gregorio - turn southeast to Piazza di Porta Capena (the Capeni Gate used to be here). Then follow Viale delle Terme di Caracalla and, following the southeast direction, continue along Via di Porta San Sebastiano. A narrow old street is gradually replacing asphalt with the long-awaited paving stones, the gates of St. Sebastian will mark the beginning of Via Appia Antica.

  • Official website of the Appian Way:

Watch the video: Appian Way, Rome HD (April 2020).


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