Appian Way

My day on the Appian Way was one of my favourite days here in Rome – ever. Walking the Appian Antica allowed me to spend a beautiful Roman day outside, combined my love for history and exploration, and it was a chance to breathe fresh air. There’s an odd peace, a quiet, that settles over the Appian Way.

 This is part of the Things to Do in Rome series. Rome is full of winding streets - get lost on them and you discover place after place of beautiful finds. But sometimes you don't want to leave it all to luck - sometimes you just want to know the best of the best in Rome.

While no trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the Vatican, the Colosseum and other huge monuments – I would say that the portrait of ancient Rome is incomplete without a walk on the ancient Roman road – the Appian Way.

Note: This guide is ‘incomplete’ as the Appian Antica is long, there are tons of museums and ruins to explore, restaurants and cafes to eat at, and even a Vivaio or two (where you can buy gardening supplies!) to pick up basil and other herbs (which you know I did). I will continue to update this as I continue to explore the area…
Appia teritur regina longarum viarum “the Appian way is the queen of the long roads”
The Appia Antica, made out of volcanic rocks, was commissioned in 312BC by Appius Claudius Caecus. The road, starting near the Roman Forum continues south and was to be used for military purposes.

How / Where to start the Appia Antica?

From the Historical Center of Rome walk to Piazza Venezia and take the 81 (Malatesta) or 628 (Baronio) to Circo Massimo.  Using your map, navigate your way to the small path of Via di Porta S. Sebastiano. You’ll have to walk a bit, but when you arrive under the Arco di Druso (photo above, read more about it here) you’re there. There is a free museum located inside of the gate/wall.

As you pass through the ancient door, make sure to look back – try to imagine that you live more than 2000 years ago. This wall and gate, were engineered by men without computers or modern machinery.

Circo Maxentius (Circo Caracalla) – one of the best preserved Circo’s in Rome, this ancient ruin was one of the pleasures of the nobility and royalty that would have enjoyed the Roman countryside. Now a ruin and a protected archaeological site, enjoy walking around, run a hand over the ancient bricks and sit and enjoy the quiet. One thing that may surprise visitors is that it’s acceptable to sit on and enjoy ancient sites in Italy. Live with history.

Cecilia Mettella – a mausoleum built for an unknown Roman consul’s daughter. The ruins are amazing, and tours are available. This is next on my list, so check back for pictures of this amazing site.

Capo di Bove – once used as thermal bathes, the state has acquired the baths and excavated them. Now, visitors can visit the site free of charge and enjoy the mosaics.

NOTE: It is possible to buy a combination ticket to see Caracalla, Metella, and Quintili (here). WITHOUT making a reservation, the cost of all three is significantly lower. The combo ticket can be purchased in person at Caracalla.

Bring water. There are cafès to buy water, however, in the late Spring, Summer, and early  Fall, Rome is hot. Not just a little hot – a lot hot.

Buy two buses tickets. One to take you to Circo Massimo (you could, alternatively, easily walk to Circo Massimo) and the other ticket in case you decide to hop a bus while on the Via Appia. There is a bus loop that is accessible from the Appia Antica, however, I don’t suggest taking the bus to the entrance of Appia Antica – you will miss a lot of the beginning sites.

Buy a map. They cost 3euros for the plastic kind (that lasts forever), or, I think I saw a free paper map or two. With a map, you will be able to easily identify which sites you are passing.

Maps withstanding. Use the map only to identify sites. Wander a bit. The fields and surrounding area’s are beautiful and worth exploring – senza map

Wear comfortable shoes appropriate clothing AND SUNSCREEN. The walk is not hard, however, walking on the old stones is tiring. The black stones also absorb a lot of sun – they’re hot. I get it if you don’t love sunscreen. But if it’s summer in Rome, and you’re going to be walking outside for hours under the intense Roman sun – wear it! Or wear really protective clothing. I saw countless people walking the Appian Way looking like lobsters (and it’s only April!).

Sites Mentioned And Links
Parco Appia Antica – this is the official Appia Antica park website. And it’s fabulous – if you read Italian! Unfortunately, the English version (here) is a basic one page. I suggest looking at the Guides in Italian, download them, and use them for reference of the names.

Terme di Caracalla – I’ve never toured the Caracalla, however, everyone I know who has is extremely impressed. This is on my to do list.


I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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Kara Bout It