did you know?

“All roads lead to Rome”

… but only one of them was “Regina Viarum” (the Queen of  Roads): the Appian Road.  It connected Rome, starting from Porta Capena, with the strategical ports of  Taranto and Brindisi, and was built by Appius Claudius Ciecus’s  command in 312 b.C. and was finished in 192 b.C. It was in the forefront for those times, built with a smooth material and was large enough to be a  trackroad (that could be walked in two directions). On both sides there were sidewalks, and for the first time, about in 20 b.C., milestones appeared, ancient forms of road signs: they were column-shaped stones useful to know how far you were from towns.

The Appian Way is also famous because in 71 b.C. , after the Gladiators’ Revolt led by Spartacus had been quelled, he and his army were crucified on the Appian road leading from Capua (where the gladiators’ school was) to Rome. Later another road  expansion, the Appia Traian Road, connected Rome with Benevento and Bari more directly.

In the Middle Ages the Appian road became the symbol of Crusades, because Brindisi was the “door” to the Holy Land.

Today some parts of the Ancient Appian Road are still “alive” and used, and on it there are many findings. I lived in Brindisi, on the Appian Road, for ten years. Now it is a modern road but at the port two columns still stand to mark the end of  The Regina Viarum.



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