A Walk Down the Via Appia Antica

One of the greatest pleasures any visitor to Rome can have is to follow in the footsteps of centurions and saints on the Empire’s most famous road, passing tombs, catacombs, churches, circuses and villas through vistas of incomparable beauty. The very stones beneath your feet are nearly 2000 years old, but the road encompasses and defies time – every step at once a journey into the past and a sensory delight in the present

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


  • della Portella, Ivana, 2004, The Appian Way: From its foundation to the Middle Ages, Los Angeles
  • Kaster, Robert. A., 2012, The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads, Chicago – a personal travelogue of the author’s road trip along the Via Appia
  • le Pera Buranelli, S. and Turchetti, R., editors, 2003, Sulla via Appia da Roma a Brindisi: le fotografie di Thomas Ashby 1891-1925, British School at Rome Archive 6, Roma
  • Macadam, A., and Barber, A., 2010, Blue Guide to Rome, London
  • Charles River Editors, All Roads Lead to Rome: The History of the Appian Way, London


  • How to get there and get around! Orientation, transport and history of the road. We travel to stretch from the Porta San Sebastiano Museum of the Walls and surrounds up to the Church of Santa Maria in Palmis (Quo Vadis) and the Parco Caffarella
  • Beginning in the area around the Catacombs of San Sebastiano we then progress as far as the Villa and Museum of Capo di Bove visiting many monuments along the way such as the Tomb of Caecilia Metella, the Villa di Massenzio and Circus of Romulus.
  • The main feature for this week is the magnificent Villa dei Quintili and the monumental tombs of the Via Appia – together with a consideration of some of the ancient landowners on this part of the road and of the possibility of continuing to other destinations further along.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Use the step by step guide provided by this course to enhance their next trip to Rome by more fully enjoying and understanding the Via Appia Antica’s ancient sites, modern monuments and historic development - including the significance of change and conservation along this extraordinary road.
  2. Gain greater understanding of the history of Rome through the development of its network of roads and how they supported Rome’s place as a supreme military and trading power.
  3. Understand pagan, Jewish and Christian burial practices and funerary rites in ancient Rome by considering the evidence of archaeology and inscriptions of the Via Appia.
  4. Plan their visit by using practical information provided about transport, museum and site entry details, and good food options along the way.

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