This was Europe’s first superhighway and remains one of the best attractions in Rome. This is possibly one of the oldest roads still in existence. It was ancient Rome’s most important military and economic artery and is largely intact today.
The Appian Way was a crucial road for the Roman Empire. It connected Rome to some of its most distant settlements and was made of large, flat stones. Built in 312 BC it was called ‘The Queen of Roads’ as it was the widest and the longest road in existence at the time.
Compared to many other best attractions in Rome, the Appian Way is incredibly well-preserved. The road was originally built predominantly for military purposes, meaning Julius Caesar walked it along with thousands of other soldiers, leaders and consuls. Christians’ converts were buried along the route and the famous slave leader Spartacus was crucified on the Appian Way in 71 BC. Nowadays the first 10 miles of the road are now a part of a regional park called Parco dell’Appia Antica, where the road the monuments that surround it are protected.
How to get there?
Although it’s one of the best attractions in Rome, much of the Appian Way sits outside the city. But it is not difficult to get there by metro or bus. The best day to visit the site is Sunday when the entire park is closed to traffic. Romans come for picnics and bike rides and tourists can tour the monuments, catacombs and even cafés in peace. This is definitely the best way to bike or walk the ancient Appian Way, as other days of the week the road is clogged with cars.
Nowadays the Appian Way starts at the Porta San Sebastiano which is just two miles of the Coliseum. Along the way you will find many different interesting sites including Domine Quo Vadis Church, the Catacombs of San Sebastiano and San Callisto, Cecilia’s mausoleum and the Circus Maxentius.