Built by Appius Claudius in 312 BC the Appian Way was the symbol of the opening of Rome towards the more developed cultures of the greek colonies of Southern Italy (Magna Grecia). Considered and called since the beginning “regina viarum” (queen of streets) it was chosen by illustrious men and families to erect along its sides their monumental tombs, like the one of Cecilia Metella, many of which were unfortunately looted and destroyed in the following centuries. At the time of the empire the Via Appia was the seat of fabulous villas, like those of the brothers Quintilii or the emperor Maxentius, and extensive properties, residential and productive at the same time, as that of Herod Atticus. During the Middle Ages, many of its monuments were transformed into fortresses, often disputed by the most powerful baronial families of Rome, from the infamous Counts of Tusculum to the Caetani of Pope Boniface VIII, the Colonna and the Orsini.
Today the Appian way is lined up by reach private residences, protected by dense vegetation and often built on archaeological grounds that the Superintendence of Rome seeks to acquire. Many stretches of the original Roman paving are still perfectly preserved and all along ruins of tombs, small templets and statues are to be seen under the pine trees. One of the best ways to discover the wonderful protected area of Appian Way (which is peaceful and closed to traffic) is bicycling.