First conceived in 312 B.C. by Appius Claudius the Appian Way was known as the Queen of roads. She was Romes first military highway, in a time when most didnt consider building roads. Let alone one that would last millenniums.
The Appian Way or Appia begins at the foot of the colosseum. Not far afterwards is the ruins of the Milliarium Aureum, which was built in 20 B.C. by Augustus. The Milliarium Aureum or the Golden Milestone listed the miles/distance from one place to another along the Appia.
Construction began on the Appian Way in 312 B.C. while Rome was conquering the Samnites. Who held territory around Capua and Beneventum. (Present day Benevento) Rome wanted a road that lade down to Capua (132 miles away) in order to tie the conquered Samnites into them. They called the road Appia Antic, the first of the Appias. Tying conquered lands into Rome became the Roman way.
It was very important to the Romans for their roads to be straight. They believed that a straight line was the fastest way from one point to another. There is a 30-mile stretch between Cisterna di Latina to Terracina
called la fettuccia or the ribbon which is so straight it is practically paralyzing.
Surveyors used an instrument called a groma, much like the ones used by surveyors today, to make roads straight. Slaves, convicts, and soldiers were used to pound, smooth and level roads, and to raise walls. The roads were paved with selce, a volcanic rock that was shaped as polygons.
These people built the road through mountains, swamps, lakes and rivers. With the Pontie swamp they partly drained it in order to build the road across. They hammered piles into the marsh, and filled around the piles with stone. They would then pound in the stone and do the same thing again and again until they couldnt pound it anymore. Afterwards they laid a layered bed of road overtop.
There are three Appias: Appia Antic, Appia Traiana, and Appia Nova. Appia Nova, modern day state highway seven, runs 125 miles from Rome to Benevento. Via Appia Traiana runs 120 miles from Benevento to Barium. (Today Bari) It then runs another 70 miles down the Adriatic to Brundisium. Appia Antic runs 132 miles from Rome to Capua. The most
famous of the three is Via Appia Traiana for famous people such as Mark Twain, Lord Byron, Hannible, Charlemagne, and St. Paul have traveled it.
Today only 4.5 miles of the Appian Way is within Romes city limits. The Appia only has 2 1/8 lanes, but most Italians like to pretened that it has three. All of the Appian Way is covered with ruins and monuments. Roman monuments are owned by the government and are not usually restored or very well maintained. This is mostly because of the lack of money that the government has. Christian monuments on the other hand are owned by the Vatican, and are very well maintained.
Many ruins are used as dumping grounds or are lived in. It is believed by the Italian people that the ruins are to be used or abused. These ruins include the amphitheater in Santa Maria, were Spartacus started the slave rebellion in 73 B.C. They also include the Roman tombs that line the Appia. Ancient Romans believed that if many people knew their name they would gain immortality. The poor couldnt afford land in which to build a tomb, so they were buried underground. They were buried in loculi, coffin-like niches, which were cut into the soft rock of the catacombs. The two most known
catacombs are San Sebastiano and San Callisto. Each of these catacombs stretch about ten miles, and were used in the first four centuries of A.D.
San Callisto holds the remains of the first six early popes. Today more weddings are held along side the Appia than funerals.
During the renaissance men built houses on top of the tombs of Scipioni and Cotta or Casal Rotondo. Both of these houses are lived in today.
Each season farmers plow the villa in which Emperor Commodus killed the Quintili brothers for. Trash dumpsters are lined along the tomb of Cecilia Metella, a woman who knew Julius Caeser. The cars that travel these ancient