Exploring the ancient Appian Way
It’s no secret that Rome is about to get exponentially hotter, until September rolls around and gives us a break from the heat. Before it gets too hot though, a perfect excursion is heading to the Appia Antica Park: especially nice to do by bike.
Apart from being a beautiful site to visit, especially on a nice sunny day, the Appia Antica, or the Appian Way, is an ancient Roman road that connected Rome to Puglia’s Brindisi. The road is named after Appius Claudius Caecus, a Roman censor who oversaw the construction of the first part of the road, built as a military path to the south in 312 BC. Yes, it’s that old!
Some of the sites along the path that have resisted over time include: the Church of Domine Quo Vadis, the St. Callixtus Catacombs, and the Basilica of St. Sebastian, to name a few. Each monument/museum has its own opening times and prices, some being free. Or if you’re just looking for a daytime refuge from busy Roman life, bring a picnic and enjoy the sun on the park’s grounds. Sunday is especially nice because they close the whole area to cars!
The Appia Antica is sprinkled with nature trails, catacombs, and archaeological sites, making the trip a perfect balance between history, sightseeing, and physical activity (especially if you choose to get around by bike). The park is also very prepared for visitors, offering a bike rental service and a few cafes and restaurants.
The Appia Antica Regional Park is not far from the centre, but it does take a bit of work to get there. To arrive directly at the bike rental point, and the official entrance of the park, take bus 218 from the San Giovanni area, bus 660 from Metro A stops Colli Albani/Arco di Travertino, or bus 118 from the Ostiense area.
This mini-excursion is perfect for the tourist who is tired of being squeezed into the capital’s most-visited sites, or for the Rome resident who is looking for something fun and different. Either way, don’t forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water!
Official entrance: Via Cecilia Metella and Via Appia Antica
Buses: 218, 660, and 118
Mon-Fri 9.30am-5pm, Sat-Sun and holidays 9.30am-6pm
Bike rental: €3 per hour, or €15 per day