Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Rome 365 - Appia Antica

Walk in the footsteps of Ancient Roman soldiers, merchants and saints on the Appia Antica. It makes a lovely trip out to the edge of the city, especially on a Sunday when part of the road is closed to cars.

The Appian Way was built in 312BC and connected Rome to some of its most distant settlements through the port of Brindisi.

Start at Porta San Sebastiano, one of the best preserved gates in the Aurelian Walls.

Just along the, road on the right hand side, is the church of Quo Vadis. Legend tells us that as St Peter was fleeing his persecutors he saw a vision of Christ and asked him where he was going ('Quo Vadis') Jesus replied that he was going to Rome to be crucified anew, prompting Peter to turn around and accept his fate. The church contains a replica of the stone said to be marked with the footsteps of Christ.

Close by is the Circus of Maxentius, the best preserved of Roman circuses, which could accomodate 18,000 spectators. it was here that the obelisk of Diocletian was found which now stands in Piazza Navona.

The Tomb of Cecilia Metella was built for the daughter in law of Marcus Licinius Crassus, perhaps the richest man in Roman history .He was Julius Caesar's financial backer.

A little further along is the excavated area of Capo di Bove where remains of a thermal bath complex belonging to a Roman Villa can be seen.

Beyond Capo di Bove the road is lined with cypresses and funerary monuments which, thanks to the sculptor Canova, remain in situ rather than placed in museums. 

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