Ancient Appiah

Via Appia Antica. (Open Map)


The most famous of the ancient roman streets, also called Regina Viarum, was built in 312 BC by the censor Appio Claudio Cieco, the same person that had the first aqueduct built in the city. For the first time, a street gets the name from his builder and not from the function (via Salaria, "via del sale") or from the site where it is going (Via Praenestina, Via Tiburtina, Via Nomentana). Initially, the street included only the part from Rome to Capua, later on it was extended up to Benevento and then, before 191 BC, up to Brindisi where two columns, one of which is still there, indicated the ending point of the street. Along the street, people started soon to build monumental tombs, from the end of the II century BC, isolated monuments, so that the street presented itself as an interrupted row of different sepulchres. One of the most important funerary monuments is the mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, placed right after the complex of the circus of Massenzio and the Mausoleum of Romolo. Even the Christians opened, along Via Appia, some of the most important Catacombs (Catacomb of Domitilla, of S. Calisto, of S. Sebastiano). There are also some villas, one of which is of the Quintili. The beginning of Via Appia was at Porta Capena, next to Circo Massimo, from here the count of the mileage started. After the Mura Aureliane were build, the entrance to the city was at Porta Appia, nowadays called Porta S. Sebastiano.