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The Appian Way: Romes Best Escape from the Crowds

Ever heard the saying “All Roads Lead to Rome”? Well then, its no wonder you can’t find any parking, or at least thats the joke. Read more about The Appian Way, an ancient roman road running away from Romes touristic center to get away from the packed roman streets, and escape the crowds of Rome.

The Appian Way Rome

The Regina Viarum (a latin title dedicated to the Appian Way) began ancient Romes expansion into southern Italy in the 3rd century b.c. Starting at the city walls of Rome and the Gate of St. Sebastian it runs towards the volcanic hills in the south, immersed in the countryside making it ideal for a quick getaway from Rome.

A world away from the traffic and crowds of modern Rome, The Appian Way or Appia Antica as it’s locally known is easily reached by foot or bicycle from the Gate of St. Sebastian. After a short distance, you reach the countryside following this tree lined road through green fields and alongside pagan roman tombs, christian catacombs and even remains of the Roman Aqueuducts.

Is the Appian Way worth a visit?

Bike Tour Appian Way

If you have never been to Rome before or are looking for something new to try, then the Appian Way is worth a visit. Escape the city center and immerse yourself in the roman countryside, walking or biking along the old roman road.

Where is the Appian Way in Rome?

Gate of St. Sebastian, beginning of Appian Way in Rome.

Originally the Appian Way started from near the Circus Maximus when the romans built laid the first stones in 312 b.c. Today however one needs to venture further away, starting from the Aurelian Walls and the Gate of St. Sebastian to see it. Even then, you stillneed to get a bit further along the road before you reach the countryside.

What is the best way to visit the Appian Way?

The best way to visit the Appian Way is by taking a guided tour or renting a bicycle. Some of the best tours of the Appian Way include the Catacombs of St. Callisto, which is included in our Appian Way Bike Tour

What is there to see along the Appian Way?

1. Gate of St. Sebastian and Aurelian Walls: This is the starting point of the Appian Way. You can see the ancient gate and the impressive Aurelian Walls that once protected the city of Rome.
2. Catacombs: Along the Appian Way, you’ll find different catacombs, including the Catacombs of San Callisto, San Sebastiano, and Domitilla. These underground burial sites provide a glimpse into the early Christian history and contain beautifully decorated tombs and frescoes.
3. Original Roman Road: As you cycle along the old road, between the 3rd and 5th mile markers, you can still see the original paved Roman road. This well-preserved section of the Appian Way gives you a direct connection to the ancient Romans and their engineering prowess.
4. Roman Aqueuducts: Further along the road at the 8th and 9th Mile there are still sections of the aqueuduct system visible.

The Appian Way Catacombs

The Appia Antica catacombs in Rome were numerous and served a crucial role in foundering the first christian communities who were under threat of being executed by the Roman Emperors. As mentioned previously, you can reach the Catacombs of St. Callisto easily by heading along the Appian Way in Rome, but there is more than one catacombs along the appian way via appia antica

  • Catacombs of St.Callisto
    • Romes biggest and most venerated site of ancient christian worship.
    • Regular opening Hours with guided tours most languages (german,spanish, french and italian)
    • Tickets cost €10 adults/€7 children closed Wednesday
    • Visit the Catacombs of St. Callisto website for more info
  • Catacombs of St. Sebastian
    • Second site of ancient christian worship along the Appian Way
    • The only catacombs with relics (bones) still visibile
    • Guided tours include the inside of Basilica of St. Sebastian
    • Visit the Catacombs of St. Callisto website for more info
  • Catacombs of Domitilla
    • Smaller than the other catacombs, with only a fraction of the underground tombs visitable
    • Regular guided tours available
    • Visit the Catacombs of Domitilla website for more info
  • Jewish Catacombs of Vigna Randanini
    • The only site of ancient jewish burial open to the public in Rome
    • Guided tours available in many languages including Hebrew
    • Visit the non official site Jewish Roma for more info

Want to read more about visiting Rome? Check here

Best tours to see the Appian Way

Visiting the appian Way is like a time machine that transports you back in time to ancient Rome. Surrounded by untouched countryside, it’s easy to imagine Roman peasants toiling in the fields, horse-drawn carriages passing by, and the hum of foot traffic filling the air. Whether you choose to walk or bike, there are plenty of touring options to suit your preference. The best part? Via appia rome is conveniently located close to the city walls, making it easily accessible for anyone looking to delve into Rome’s rich past.

  • Guided Bike Tours of the Appian Way
    • Personally we think the absolute best way to see the Appian Way is by bicycle since it is not open to traffic or motorized vehicles. Check out our Appian Way Bike Tour for more info.
    • We suggest joining a tour that starts close to the Gates of St. Sebastian since it avoids cycling through the city to reach the start of the Appian Way.
  • Self Guided Tours (Walking or Biking)
    • Its quite simple to follow the road since once you have passed the Catacombs of St. Callisto, since its closed to traffic and pretty much straight.
    • Download an app and ruote to follow that will give you some directions.
  • Reduced Mobility and Golf Carts to see the Appian Way
    • Golf Carts can also be a great idea for those who are not able to walk or ride a bicycle.
    • You will be able reach the Catacombs and see a small section of the original road.

Hidden gems and lesser-known attractions

  • There is also a great place to take a break en-ruote at caffe Appia Antica, a charming café nestled along the ancient Appian Way. Don’t miss the chance to explore the magnificent Cecilia Metella tomb, a stunning Roman mausoleum that echoes with history.
  • And for a truly unique experience, venture to Circo Massenzio, an ancient circus that offers a glimpse into the grand spectacles of the past.
  • A little off the main path of the Appian Way, at the bottom of the road that leads downhill from Caffe Appia Antica, Via Cecelia Metella is Santa Egeria the natural spring

Escape Rome and visit the Appian Way

Escape the crowds of Rome and embark on a one-of-a-kind adventure along the Appian Way. Discover the ancient charm of this historic road and immerse yourself in its fascinating stories. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply seeking a unique experience, the Appian Way offers the perfect getaway. So why wait? Plan your excursion today and indulge in the wonders of this ancient marvel.


Book the Appian Way Bike Tour