The Appian Way, also known as Via Appia Antica, is the most historically significant long road and supply route in the ancient Roman Republic. It was constructed in 312 BC. There are many attractions on this route that runs all the way from the city of Rome to the southeastern Italian port of Brindisi. Via Appia Antica served several important functions in the efficient governance and strategic dominance of the Roman Empire. Firstly, as a supply route for strategic military outposts, the Appian Way was invaluable. Secondly, it opened up a direct route for trade between Rome and the port city, facilitating more efficient trade with the likes of Greece and other countries to the east.
The Appian Way catacombs are perhaps the most popular attractions along this historic route. They are essentially large tunnels where thousands of early Christians who faced persecution were buried. The first stretch of the Via Appia Antica leading away from Rome is filled with monuments and statues and the grave sites of many patrician Roman families. Beyond this stretch are the catacombs in the underground tunnels. When persecution was at its worse for Christians, church services were even held in the catacombs. When you visit the Appian Way Catacombs, you have the ability to meander through the tunnels, and even discover remnants of early Christian artwork from antiquity that still lines some of the tombs. You can also take part in one of the tours of the Appian Way Rome that gives you better insight into the history of the Appian Way catacombs, as opposed to simply wandering along on your own. Knowledgeable guides are able to describe the more interesting subject matter and point out the most significant sights, not to mention show you how to get there.
The tomb of Cecilia Metella is indeed one of the most popular attractions along the Appian Way. It truly does stand out among the other buildings and tombs of the landscape. It is one of the best-preserved tombs, especially considering that it dates back to the first century AD. Cecilia Metella was the daughter of a man named Quintus Creticus who was a general to Julius Ceasar. She was married to a legate to Julius Caesar by the name of Marcus Licinius Crassus. Over the centuries, the grave, and thereby the personage, has received greater notoriety, not so much for the affiliation with the rule of Julius Caesar, as for the good condition in which the burial site itself has remained.
The Via Appia Antica stretches over a large portion of the country of Italy. Along the way you will encounter seemingly limitless treasures, whether they are churches, monuments, or catacombs. Several major attractions of note along the Appian Way include the Church of Domine Quo Vadis, the Circus of Maxentius, the catacombs of San Sebastian, and the Mausoleum of Casal Rotondo. You can access the ancient sites from the center of town using public transportation. You can take bus number 218 from the San Giovanni Station to access many points of interest along the way. Be aware that the Appian Way can be a very busy road during weekdays if you intend to walk it and that it is often closed to traffic on certain days. Venturing out to the Appian Way is well worth the trip if you are planning a vacation in Rome.