History Hiking Through the Via Appia Antica Part 1
I was blessed enough to have some friends who live south west of Rome and they offered to drop me off at the Via Appia Antica to take more photos and explore more of the ancient road. I have visited the Via Appia on several occasions, but I never was able to get so far out of the city and see more of the road. Therefore, part one of this post will cover my trip to the outer parts of the Via Appia, near Ciampino airpot. However, before I discuss my visit, it’s important to briefly discuss the road’s history and importance.
The Via Appia is named after the former Roman Consul Appio Claudio. The road was constructed to provide an easier route for trade, specifically with Asia and Greece.(1) The road grew and became more vital to the Roman economy and it soon took on a new name, “Regina Varium” or Queen of Roads. The road was originally constructed in 312 B.C. and it was paved with large smooth stones on top of gravel that gave the road stability and allowed for proper drainage.(2)
In 1998, the Via Appia Antica became a protected park in Italy. The park covers an astounding 16km or 3,400 hectares.(3) The park’s goal is to preserve the roads natural beauty and ensure that visitors will learn more about its history and significance.(4)
Walking the Via Appia puts you back in time. There are amazing Roman structures along the road and it forces the imagination to wonder how the road might have looked back during the height of Rome’s power.
The more I walked down the road the more fascinated I became with Rome’s history. I kept imagining caravans of goods from all parts of the empire streaming into the city from the Via Appia. I could also see Roman Legions marching down the road ready to conquer their enemies. I imagined riders or messengers thundering down the road on horseback carrying the emperors messages.
Other parts of the via are a bit dangerous. I remember walking on the road closer to Rome (part 2) and nearly being hit by several cars. Thankfully, this part of the road is much safer. I did see some cars on the road, but not too many and they were going at a slower speed than what I had previously experienced.
There were also a lot of cyclist on the road; which is understandable. The scenery is beautiful and I am sure it can be inspiring for runners and cyclist alike.
I eventually came to a large mound near the road. I crossed a small rock wall to get a closer look. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but if fascinated me. Was it an old tomb? Was it a part of an old military post? I had to get closer to find out.
I walked around the mound to get a better feel for what it might have been, but there was too much foliage covering the rock wall to get a clear idea of what it was. I sat down for few minutes thinking again about Rome’s history. I was also stunned by the view and at that moment, I felt so blessed to be able to be where I was. I love history.
I got up and began to walk further down the road again, but I was stopped by a call on my cell phone. The call was from my friends telling me they were a few minutes away. Goodness, I couldn’t believe how time had flown by. I was waling on the road for over two hours. I made my way back towards the meeting point, but not after I took a few more photos of things I previously missed.
I was pleased with my trip to the Via Appia and I was amazed at the history and beauty of the road. However, I was also excited to see my friends Robert and Manuela waiting for me. We were heading just a few minutes down the road to eat dinner at Fattorio Di Fiorano. I promise to tell you all about it on another post. 🙂
*Sources taken from www.parcoappiaantica.it
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