Via Appia, built in 312 BC and eventually reaching 132 miles, is one of the earliest Roman roads. These roads were built to connect Roman bases that were used to refresh and resupply troops out to the farthest edges of Rome’s empire. They all began in Rome where there was a master list kept of all the destinations along the roads, hence, “all roads lead to Rome”. A new road was built in 1784 and runs parallel to this one. The original road is now known as via Appia Antica.
We started our walk about 4 miles outside of Rome at the Roman baths of Capo di Bove. It was a bit confusing to get here. We took a bus but probably should have gotten off at an earlier stop. We had to walk a mile or so along a side road from the bus route over to the antique road. I’m sure there’s a better way but our lack of Italian caught up with us this time. We got here, though, and totally enjoyed our walk in the country!
Hills were cut and valleys were filled in order to make the road as straight and level as possible. Many of the original stones are still here. When used by the Romans there was a layer of cement applied over the stones so the surface was really smooth. The road was slightly domed and gutters ran along the edges to keep the road from flooding.
There are homes along the road with pretty doorways and gates.
We could imagine this same thing holding up Roman soldiers long ago!
The ruins of ancient gates keep watch.
The old Appian Way has been extensively restored. Where the road has broken down workers reuse the old stones for repairs.
We walked 2 to 3 miles down the road then turned around and walked back, making our way past the Circus of Maxentius (an ancient race track.)
Then we had a long wait at the side of the very busy new road for a return bus!