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The Appian Way

Listed under Monuments & Landmarks in Rome, Italy.

  • Photo of The Appian Way
  • Photo of The Appian Way
Photo of The Appian Way
Photo by flickr user iessi
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We think we’re so civilised with our homes connected to running water and our electricity and our road networks…Ok, so roads aren’t really that difficult to build being anything from a well worn track formed over time by the passing of many hooves to vast tarmac monstrosities gouged though the landscape ploughing though hills. But roads that were built to last six thousand years prove that ours isn’t the only era with decent technology. Who knows if the M25 or Route 66 will last as long as that, because the Appian Way, most important of the ancient Roman roads has.

Connecting Rome to the equally ancient cities of Brindisi and Apulia, this stone laid path linked military garrisons allowing the army to remain well stocked and ready to mobilise at short notice – but the most impressive thing is that it was all finished in a year: 312 BC. They started with a levelled dirt road then laid small stones secured with mortar, then covered with gravel and laid with another layer of tightly fitting stones. A ridge runs along the centre of the road and there are ditches on either side, all for water run off, which could be why the road has survived so well for so long. It ran straight, and is still one of the longest stretches of straight road in Europe (62kms). Extensions were made to the Way and repairs made, obviously, but there are still sections that cars can drive along and its path is a route past many important ancient Roman sites including many tombs and catacombs.

The whole original route measures 540kms, but these days the most interesting segment passes between the Tomb of Cecilia Metella to Casal Rotondo.

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

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