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Itineraries in Rome - The Via Appia Antica

Routes in Rome - The Via Appia Antica (via the Claudian aqueduct to the Catacombs of S. Callisto)

"Regina Viarum': The Queen of Roads. This is what the ancient Romans called the Via Appia, a veritable highway of Antiquity. Started in 312 B.C. by Appius Claudius and finished in the 2nd century A.D., this consular road initially connected Rome with Capua and Benevento, but was completed as far as Taranto and Brindisi. This consular road initially connected Rome with Capua and Benevento, but when it was completed, it went as far as Taranto and Brindisi. Extraordinarily evocative is the typical Roman pavement, the Saxo quadrato; blocks of tufa and lava. that we can still walk along today.

For the Romans it was the trade route, but also the place to bury the dead. Here, in fact, are the tombs of the plebeians, the so-called 'Colombari'. , loculi shaped like the nests of pigeons, and the tombs of aristocratic families and great personalities, such as the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, that of the Curiazi and of the philosopher Seneca.

We come across the 16th-century church Domine Quo Vadis, erected on the site where, according to legend, St. Peter, having escaped from the Mamertine Prison, crossed paths with Jesus on his way to Rome. ("Lord, where are you going?"). The Lord replied "I am coming to Rome to be crucified again". Struck by these words, St. Peter decided to return to Rome and suffer martyrdom.

The great Arches of the Claudian Aqueduct frame the Roman countryside, now Park of the Aqueducts. The great aqueduct is one of the most photographed images in the world and an impressive and important example of Roman technique and skill. We stop among the remains of the Circus of Maxentius, which, during representations, housed up to 10,000 spectators.

It was from a tufa quarry on the Appian Way that the term catacomb was coined: a cavity that became an underground cemetery. The Catacombs of San Callisto are the largest and most monumental in Rome. They occupy an area of about 15 hectares and extend for more than 20 km of tunnels, exceeding a depth of 20 metres. Not to be missed is the Little Vatican, where the remains of 9 popes lie, and the Crypt of St Cecilia, the patron saint of music.

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