Tourist Guide Rome

The Via Appia Antica, the longest museum in the world

Not only the actual city of Rome but also its surrounding areas have numerous monuments and sights which are inseparable from the history of the Eternal City. One of these most popular attractions is the ancient Via Appia Antica, the road that leads south out of Rome. It was built in the year 312 BC by Appius Claudius and although it isn’t the oldest, is certainly the most important and most famous roman road. The ancient roman law of the ‘Twelve Tables’ forbade burials within the cities walls. That is why many members of distinguished noble Roman families were buried in tombs along the Via Appia. Many of these tombs have been well preserved until today and hence make the Via Appia Antica the longest museum in the world. Along the road there also for example 3 famous roman catacombs of which several are open to the public. These are the San Sebastian, the Domitilla and the Callixtus catacombs. One of the most famous tombs by the Via Appia is that of Cecilia Metella.

In parts the street also has some of the original antique pavement in place – this provides further evidence of the high level of development of roman engineering and architecture. Consequently one automatically thinks of what will be left to see in 2000 years time of the much praised German motorways. When walking along the Via Appia one can experience history practically first hand. One can soak in the magnificent landscape with its rolling hills, green grass and pine trees. Add to this the tombs and old buildings that emerge everywhere – one can really not get much closer to history than this. This is particularly true for the part of the street starting from the tomb of Cecilia Metella. From here onwards the pavement of the Via Appia is still in its original antique form and is closed to general traffic. When one walks down here one instinctively expects to encounter a cohort of roman legionaries on their way to the city, or a squad of slaves on their way to work on one of the country estates. From the tomb of Cecilia Metella one can easily take the bus back into the city. This historical walk is recommended – provided the weather is not too hot i.e. in spring or autumn.