A Walk along the Appian Way

Palazzo di MassenzioTraced by Appius Claudius from Rome to Capua in 312 BC it was the symbol of the expansion towards the more civilized Greek colonies of Southern Italy. Chosen by men and illustrious families to erect their monumenMausoleo di C. Metella e Castello Caetanital tombs, many of which unfortunately looted and destroyed in the following centuries, at the time of the empire the Via Appia was also home to the great patrician villas and extensive properties, residential and productive at the time same. During the Middle Ages, its monuments, turned into fortresses, were disputed by the most powerful baronial families of Rome, from the notorious Counts of Tusculum to the Caetani of Pope Boniface VIII.

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CatacombeWe begin our tour from the Basilica of San Sebastian, built atop one of the oldest pagan and christian cemeteries in Rome. Here we will visit the Christian Catacombs as well as the beautiful pagan mausoleums decorated with stucco, dug into the hillside. Walking along the next stretch of the Appian Way, between the third and fourth mile, you reach the imperial residence of Maxentius, built in the IV century on the previous villa of the Athenian Herodes Atticus. This is composed of the imperial palace, the dynastic Le Terme di Erode Atticomausoleum where the emperor’s son was buried at the age of 9, and the beautifully preserved circus for chariot races. Just beyond it stands the monumental tomb of Cecilia Metella, transformed in 1300 into the fortified tower of the castle erected on its side by the Caetani, in defense and control of this important gateway into the city. Finally we visit the thermal  complex, recently discovered, which was part of the Pagus Triopius, the extended property of the wealthy Herodes Atticus brought to him in dowry by his equally rich Roman wife Annia Regilla.

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