Approaching Rome


Via Appia Antica

Via Appia Antica. From the crossroad with Via di Torricola up to the Tomb (mausoleum) of Cecilia Metella
Always visible.

At the crossroad between Via Appia Antica and Via di Torricciola, which is already part of the municipality of Rome, the last segment of Saint Paul’s journey starts: we are now close to the capital. From here on it is possible to continue without interruptions and in a very easy way, by knowing that you are exactly in the Apostle’s footprints.
The original basalt paving stones are sometimes still visible, while at the sides, inside the green areas, you can see the remaining of several funerary monuments linked to the owners’ social status: tower tombs, aedicule, temple tombs, exedra tombs, simple dovecote tombs, tumulus or mausoleums.
In fact in the Roman era it was forbidden to place cemeteries inside of the towns. For this reason you can see tombs outside the town walls all along the roads leading outside the urban area. By walking all along any consular road any ancient citizen of the Roman empire would have seen tombs and mausoleums at its sides, together with farms and noble mansions as a continuous sequence. This certainly happened also to Saint Paul.
Nowadays ruins and pine trees are still visible throughout this fascinating landscape, but many of the monuments are more recent than the landscape that could be admired by the apostle. If you want to maintain the spirit of the landscape, we suggest you to concentrate on the most imposing monuments that certainly are the ones that the apostle could admire.
For complete information according to the centuries of the Empire, you could consult the dedicated website of the Superintendence (www.viaappiaantica.com) or the one of the Regional Park of the Ancient Appian Way (www.parcoappiaantica.it).
You should also consider that all along the Appian Way you will see several prospects in bricks and with fragments of inscriptions: they were made by the sculptor Antonio Canova or by the architect and archaeologist Luigi Canina in order to maintain the remaining of the ancient way on the original path, by avoiding them to get widespread and eventually lost.
This part of the itinerary is ca. 2,5 km: you can continue on foot or on a bicycle.
We suggest downloading an App for runners on your smartphone calculating distances in real time. In that case we could provide you the precise location of any indicated monument.
For the monuments like the Mausoleum of Casal Rotondo to the sepulchre with inscription of Baricha Zabda and Achibam, we should consider the crossroad with Via di Torricciola as a starting point (point zero). For all other monuments, from the sepulchre of Frontespizio on, point zero will be the crossroad with Via di Tor Carbone.


At 80 m from the crossroad with Via di Torricola, on the right, a very imposing circular sepulchre is visible, it is even greater than the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, although it is badly preserved. In medieval times a tower was built on it, and we can find it today as embedded in the actual building. Right after that you can see a great bricks prospect where Luigi Canina at the half of the XIX century placed marble inscriptions and fragments of the area that he considered to be part of the mausoleum, although many of them are not.


665 m far from the crossroad of Via di Torricola, on the right, the cement core of a mausoleum remains, that Saint Paul could see shaped as a tower that contained a funerary chamber in blocks with a barrel vault. The internal part is still preserved. The monument was built during the half of the I century B.C.


By continuing again at one kilometre and 450 m far from the crossroad of Via di Torricola you will find the marvellous villa of the Quintiles that Saint Paul could not see because it was built one century later. If you want to visit it, all necessary information is in the itinerary Extras.
At one kilometre and 187 m from the crossroad on the left of the road the enormous so called tombs of the Horatii and after 290 m the analogue so called tombs of the Curiatii are to be seen. The legend tells (and maybe Saint Paul heard it during his path) that between the territory of Rome and its enemy Alba Longa three Roman brothers (the Horatii) and three brothers from Alba (the Curiatii) fought against each other to decide the end of the war with a duel in order to avoid further deaths. Thanks to the trick of letting his enemies run after him and killing them one by one when they were already exhausted, only one of the Horatii survived. So Rome won.
According to the tradition the three Curiatii and the two Horatii that died were buried on this spot of the Appian Way where the tombs preserve their memory. In reality these tombs were built at the end of the I century B.C.: their realisation is indeed connected to a learned operation during the time of Emperor Augusto that aimed to re-evaluate the old traditions of the Roman people. So these tombs were reconstructed following an archaic form on the spot that was told to be the location where these ancient heroes were buried.
On the tomb of the Curiatii a tower is placed that once was told to be medieval, but that it is an element that was supporting the statue of the tomb and that was originally entirely covered.


One kilometre and 727 m far from the crossroad with Via di Torricola, on the right of the road, a tower tomb is visible. In front of it on the ground an inscription remembers L. Valerius Baricha, L. Valerius Zabda and L. Valerius Achiba, of clear Semitic origin, like Saint Paul. They were all freedmen (slaves set free) of a man belonging to the gens Valeria. These names were very rare in Rome but they were very common in Transjordan and Syria, from where probably these people came. The inscription, and so also the monument, is probably of the first half of the I century A.D.

We advise you to set the counter to zero at the crossroad with via di Tor Carbone, from which you can start again.


At 92 m from the crossroad with via di Tor Carbone on the left, there is a tomb called “del Frontespizio” (“with front stone”): it is in reality a bricks prospect created by Luigi Canina to include a copy of a bas relief with portraits of four people, among which a man and a woman that appear as a married couple (thanks to the typical dextrarum iunctio). It is the copy of an original piece that was approximately made at the half of the I century B.C. and that belonged apparently to the tower tomb of which the nucleus is still preserved, located on the back. Today this original part is preserved at the Museo Nazionale Romano – Terme di Diocleziano.


Immediately after the tomb with front stone, the tomb “Sepolcro dei Festoni” is placed. It is an altar tomb with decorations recalling Cupids and flowers, that was probably built at the beginning of the I century B.C.


212 m far from the crossroad with Via di Tor Carbone, on the left, there is an altar tomb with a relief portraying three people. Saint Paul saw the original without any doubt that today is at the Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Massimo. Here it is substituted by a copy.
The two portraits on the left are two freedmen (freed slaves) of the gens (family) Rabiria, maybe belonging to C. Rabirio Postumo, a rich merchant that Cicero defended in court. The third portrait (on the right) represents an Egyptian priestess of goddess Isis, appearing among the religious tools that she is holding: a cup and a sistrum, a music instrument. The images of the freedmen were made around 40 B.C., while the priestess was sculpted afterwards, by re-elaborating an already existing portrait.


410 m from the crossroad with via di Tor Carbone another prospect by Luigi Canina exposes the marble fragments of a tomb, the nucleus in cement of which is still visible on the back. The preserved inscriptions indicate that the owner of the tomb is Tiberius Claudius Secondus Filippianus, freedman (freed slave) of an Emperor of the gens claudia (Claudius or Nero) – so contemporary of Saint Paul – buried together with his wife and children.


520 m from the crossroad with via di Tor Carbone, on the left, another prospect by Canina includes a relief with five people, made probably during the Augustan age; inside the central recess a couple of spouses unites their hands in the gesture of the dextrarum iunctio. The original part is preserved at the Museo Nazionale Romano – Terme di Diocleziano and it is substituted here by a cement copy. The inscription carrying the name of Hilarus Fuscus, that provides the name to the entire monument and that was once inserted in the lower part of that structure, was made during a later time but now it has disappeared.


568 m from the crossroad with via di Tor Carbone, on the left, an altar tomb with Doric decoration and relief representing a hunting or battle scene was probably completed at the beginning of the I century B.C.


700 m from the crossroad of via Tor Carbone, on the right, one of the prospects by Canina exposes the inscription in which Sextus Pompey, with grief, “cries the premature death of a son and a daughter”, praying to be soon joining them. The author is probably a freedman (freed slave) of Sextus Pompey’s Consul in 14 A.D.


902 m from the crossroad with via di Tor Carbone we see on the right the imposing nucleus of the circular mausoleum on a squared basis made during the first imperial age. On the back side the access was opened to the underground barrel vaulted chamber sheltering the sarcophaguses of the deaths.



One kilometre and 60 metres from the crossroad with via di Tor Carbone, on the right, in front to Forte Appio (Fortress of the Appian Way), Antonio Canova, at the beginning of the XIX century created a prospect where he inserted the architrave of the neighbouring monument of Marcus Servilius Quartus, that built it (as there marked) at his own costs, during the era of Emperor Tiberius that reigned between year 14 and 37 A.D.


1 km and 130 m far from the crossroad of via di Tor Carbone, on the right, a marble relief was re-placed representing a life-sized man of heroic nudity with an armour at his feet. The work of art is of a high artistic value and it belonged certainly to a neighbouring mausoleum of the I century B.C. entitled to a rich noble Roman senator.

How to get the step: Approaching Rome

Via del Casale Rotondo, 1-9, 00178 Roma, Italy


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