Pedaling through the cycle paths of Rome – Cristina Galardini’s Vlog.
As always, if you haven’t seen the previous episode, here’s the link.
For today’s ride, I choose to cross only a part of a beautiful and historical path in Appia Antica. I will start from Porta San Sebastiano and bring you with me to ancient Rome. Porta San Sebastiano is the largest and the best preserved of the gates in the defensive walls of the Mure Aureliane of Rome.
The original name was Porta Appia because from the gate passed Via Appia. After the middle of the XV century is finally attested the name that is still preserved today, due to the proximity to the Basilica and the Catacombe of San Sebastiano.
Via Appia Antica in Roma is one of the oldest roman roads of the fallen Roman Empire that connected Roma to Brundisium (Brindisi), one of the most important port of ancient Italy. It was from there that started the trading routes to Greece and the East Orient. Via Appia and all the things to see along the way are part of the Appia Antica regional park.
An immense park in the center of Roma, linking the territories of Ciampino and Marino. Our first stop is at Catacombe of San Callisto, which are part of the Callistiano complex, an area of about 30 hectares between the Via Appia Antica, the Via Ardeatina and the Via delle Sette Chiese.
Inside the complex, you can find several burial houses and catacomb areas. Via Appia Antica was built in 312 B.C. by the Consul Appio Claudio and has always been considered the Queen Viarum or the queen of the streets and considered one of the largest civil engineering works in the ancient world. It had a big economic, military and cultural impact on Roman society.
I’m continuing and the second most famous archaeological site is Villa di Massenzio, a circus that could accommodate up to 10,000 visitors. Today, the Villa has been almost totally destroyed. The access to Villa di Massenzio is free, but we have to leave the bike outside I don’t enter.
The Villa was a symbol of the power and splendor of ancient Rome, but now there are only some ruins and tomb and many original stones. We are continuing, we see the castle tomb of Cecilia Metella because it is called tomb but in front we have a castle. This ancient palace that seems to be an immense tower is actually the tomb.
An immense mausoleum in honor of Cecilia Metella daughter of a Roman consul built in the style of the mausoleum of Augusto. The next palace is an ancient medieval castle built by Pope Bonifacio VIII. Cycling on Appia Antica means to jump into the past, straight to the ancient Roma, among the ruins of lush roman villas and kilometers, kilometers of catacombs.
Today, the famous”basoli” stones have remained only in some stretches. To ride on Appia Antica we would need a good mountain bike, especially for the most demanding stretches. It was immediately clear why Appia Antica was conceived, to connect Rome to Capua with a direct line without deviations. So for the first 90 km until arrive to Terracina appeared as an endless straight line of “basoli” stones.
To ride a bike or to walk in Appia Antica is an exciting and unique experience in the world. Historical remains and the shadow of the marine pines and cypresses lapping the road. Do you remember me? How many hills in Roma… 7? I’m feeling is just a climb!