Your safety and well-being remains our top priority.View our Safe Travels commitmentX
|||

Appian Way

This ancient Roman road goes outside the city walls and is crammed with fascinating sights.

TravelCurious Tip

Rent a bike and enjoy a leisurely cycle along this gorgeous Roman road.

The way to go

The Appian Way, or Via Appia Antica, was first built an incredible 2,300 years ago as an important strategic route to Naples and the south of Italy from Rome. The Romans were terrific road engineers; the road needed to accommodate travelling legions and all their retinue, so the Appia Antica is much wider than other ancient roads, and was smoothly covered with volcanic stone, today bearing the marks of carriage wheels. Every main road led back to the Eternal City, giving us the phrase ‘all roads lead to Rome.'

On the weekends, most of the Appian Way is a public park which no unauthorised vehicles may enter, and is a great place to spend the day. At the top of the road is the early Renaissance house of Cardinal Bessarione, who once hosted lavish parties in its frescoed rooms for the greatest minds of the day. Close by are the old Roman Walls which circled the city, known as the Aurelian Walls after the Emperor who built them in order to keep out the attacking Goths. Now their ruins make up a large museum, and you can patrol the walls like an ancient Roman guard. Inside the museum you will also see famous landmarks like the well-preserved gate of Porta San Sebastiano, named for the nearby Christian catacombs, and the Arch of Drusus, part of the aqueduct for Emperor Caracalla’s enormous baths.

An important spot for Christian pilgrims is the church of Domine Quo Vadis. According to legend it was on the site of this church where Jesus appeared to St. Peter, who was fleeing the persecution of Nero. Domine quo vadis means ‘Lord, whither goest thou?’ which is the question Peter asked the vision of Christ, who responded that he was going to Rome to be crucified again. Peter then returned to Rome, and was crucified upside down for his faith. The miraculous imprint of Christ’s feet from this fateful visitation are now held in the nearby church of San Sebastiano fuori le Mura.

Dine among the dead

If you get hungry, pay a visit to a fantastic restaurant called Hosteria Antica Roma, housed in an ancient building in which the urns of dead freed slaves were kept. Served by the charismatic elderly owner, customers may eat in the open-aired burial hall or inside the medieval building beside it.

One of the most fascinating sights on the Appian Way is the private chariot racing circus of Emperor Maxentius, which is almost as big as the Circus Maximus, and better preserved. It once stood beside his magnificent villa, now lost. Close by is the tomb of his son Valerius Romulus within its own walls. If ancient burials are your thing, there are also two ancient Christian catacombs which can be accessed from the road.

Admired in the poetry of Lord Byron, the huge round turreted Tomb of Cecilia Metella, daughter-in-law of Crassus, member of the first Triumvirate with Caesar and Pompey and the richest man in Rome, is one of the chief attractions on the road for its scale and preservation. With so much to offer, all trips to Rome should lead to the Appian Way.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rome
Catacombs
An underground network of ancient Christian burial grounds.
Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls
This church was built over the burial place of St. Paul, and is one of the four most important basilicas in Rome.
Archbasilica of St. John in the Lateran
Said to be the oldest in the world, this is the mother of all Christian churches.
Aqueducts
A marvel of Roman engineering, the aqueducts provided drinking water and indoor sewer systems that carried water away from the city.
Baths of Caracalla
Perhaps the most monumental and imposing archeological complexes of the entire Imperial epoch, the baths provided the population with sanitation facilities and opportunities to socialise.
Tomb of Cecilia Metella
The most visible and majestic tomb of the first and most important Roman road.

Related Tours

Appian Way and Aqueducts Private Golf Cart Tour
This tour will whisk you away to the cobbled lanes and idyllic fields of the Italian countryside. 

  • Escape the crowds of central Rome to the cobbled lanes and idyllic fields of the Italian countryside.
  • Follow the iconic Appian Way - the immaculately preserved ‘Roman Queen of Roads’
  • Venture off the beaten track to discover ruins, relics and curiosities hidden from the eye.
  • Follow a trail of Rome’s beautiful Roman aqueducts - the city’s lesser known treasures.
  • Visit the ancient Baths of Caracalla and stop off at the tomb of Cecilia Metella.
  • Take centre stage and go at your own pace with your guide
  • Combine the intimacy of a walking tour with the comfort of a driving tour
Hop on a golf cart with your own expert guide and embark on an adventure across the less travelled side of beautiful Rome - the majestic Appian Way. At one time the most important road in the Roman Empire, immaculately preserved, it rolls from Central Rome to the beautiful hills and fields of the neighbouring countryside (and eventually all of the way to the City of Brindisi). Sided by sleepy churches, farmhouses and crumbling Roman ruins, it is a truly magical picturesque route.

Stumble upon an ancient catacomb, and discover the city’s remaining network of aqueducts. Once the pride of Roman engineering, these wonders transported water over long distances to towns and cities, providing the means to construct complex sewage and irrigation systems as well as baths, amongst other things. After stopping for refreshment and lunch at one of the top eateries in the local idyllic setting, leisurely return to Rome. A day not to be missed!

We created this tour because 
it allows visitors to see a different part of Rome, away from bustling crowds and offering the chance for you to unwind. 
x

Guides

Join the fastest growing community of professional tour guides.

Partners

Use our easy to integrate toolset to include Tours & Attractions in your customer journey.