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An e-bike ride on the Appian Way in Rome

November 2021

An e-bike ride from the X­th mile to Caecilia Metella’s Tomb

The Appian Way, also known as Regina Viarum, is one of the oldest and most historic roads in the world. Built starting from 312 BC. it was one of the main arteries of the complex Roman road system, about 540 kilometers long, from Rome to the port of Brindisi.

About 4 metres wide to allow for the passage of two wagons, along the route there were rest stations that guaranteed accommodation and change of horses approximately every 10 kilometers. It was covered with large slabs of basalt and on the sides there were clay sidewalks delimited by a stone curb. Along the way, villas and funerary monuments were erected near the main urban centres.

Today, the Appia Antica is protected, as is the surrounding area, by the Appia Antica Regional Park, which divides the route into miles.

Our e-bike ride begins at the Xth mile, near Ciampino at the Bici Grill X Miglio rental point.

Sepolcro detto di Veranio
Veranio's Tomb

One again we are with our friend and licensed guide, Fabio Sebasti. First stop, Veranio’s tomb. This sepulcher has a central niche for the images of the deceased. The cell for depositions was obtained in the rectangular-shaped base. The traditional identification of this tomb with that of the Roman consul Quintus Veranio has been denied by the discovery of his funerary monument on the via Tiburtina.

Tempio di Ercole
Temple of Hercules

These remains traditionally identified with the Temple of Hercules have been disproved by excavations which have revealed portico structures, probably a quadrangular area with rooms used for commercial and production purposes. This hypothesis would be proven by the discovery of many fragments of food jars.

Casal Rotondo
Casal Rotondo

This impressive circular tomb from the end of the 1st century BC. is a wonderful example of the reuse of a Roman mausoleum over the centuries. In the Middle Ages a watchtower was built on top of it and later incorporated into a farmhouse which has now been transformed into a villa.

Nucleo cementizio di Casal Rotondo
Casal Rotondo

On the side, a brick wall displays some marble fragments found near the building which are believed to belong to  tomb’s decoration.

Ninfeo della Villa dei Quintili
Nymphaeum of the Villa dei Quintili

Following the discovery of a lead pipe bearing the name of the owners, it is quite certain that the Villa belonged to the brothers Sesto Quintilio Condiano and Sesto Valerio Massimo, in 151 AD. The Quintilii were killed by the emperor Commodus in 182 AD. for hatching a conspiracy against him, so the residence was confiscated and became imperial property. Since then, Commodus and other emperors after him lived in the Villa.

Sepolcro dei Curiazi
The Curiatii's Tomb

According to legend, this would be the sacred enclosure of the Horatii in memory of the battle between Horatii and Curiatii. It dates back to the time of Augustus and would have been erected as a will of the central power to strengthen the memory of a symbolic place.

Tomba dei Rabirii
The Rabirii's Tomb

The relief with three characters is a cast. The original is in Palazzo Massimo Museum. These are the portraits of two freedmen and an Isis’ priestess, on the side, the instruments of worship, a cup and the sistrum, a stringed musical instrument.

Tomba di Ilario Fusco
Ilario Fusco's Tomb

The brick facade was built in the mid-nineteenth century on the remains of a funerary monument. Among the fragments there is a relief divided into three niches with the busts of five characters. Datable to the age of Augustus, the original is in the National Roman Museum.

Sepolcro di Cecilia Metella
Caecilia Metella's Tomb

Caecilia Metella’s tomb is one of the most symbolic places of the Appian Way. This funerary monument built between 30 and 10 BC still impresses the traveler today with its grandeur and elegance, in addition to the charm of having been reused in medieval times as the tower of a perfectly preserved castle.

We traveled 10 km on a rather demanding road surface alternating between paved and unpaved surfaces. Now, we just have to go back to the starting point, Bici Grill X° Miglio and enjoy a porchetta sandwich.