Saturday, March 29, 2014

Via Appia Antica (just before VI Miglio)

 A Spring day is a great time to stroll along the Via Appia Antica, the Queen of the Roads.

Wedding couple enjoying the photo possibilities along the via Appia Antica.



From the translation of the text written by Romolo Augusto Staccioli of the University of Rome “La Sapienza” for the tourist map “La Via Appia Antica” published for free by Azuenda di Promozione Turistica di Roma.

VIA APPIA ANTICA was the first and most important of the great roads which the Romans built. Rightly called the Regina Viarum, or queen of roads, it was constructed towards the end of the 4th century B.C. in order to set up a fast communication between Rome and Capua. The whole distance was 132 miles, and was normally covered in a journey lasting five or six days.

The year of birth of the road was 312 B.C., when Appius Claudius held the office of censor in Rome: he was the magistrate who had the road built, giving it his own name. Its planning followed a surprisingly modern approach, which left the intermediate towns to one side, though they were linked to it by apposite streets, and aimed straight for the objective. The road thus had to be built overcoming great natural obstacles like the Pontine marshes by means of important engineering works.

The first stretch, as far as Terracina, was an extremely long straight line of approximately ninety kilometres in length, the last 28 of which flanked by an artificial canal that allowed one to alternate the carriage or horseback trip with a boat ride. 

The Appian way was lengthened several times: at first immediately after 268 B.C., as far as Beneventum, then from there to the Appenines, thence to Venosa and finally on to Taranto. During the second century before Christ, lastly, it was taken as far as Brindisi, gateway to the East.

 This is actually just past VI Miglio.