Via Appia Antica


Regina Viarum, the most ancient highway in the world!

The Appian Way was the most important consular road from Rome. Because of that, it was called “Regina Viarum” (the queen of the roads). It linked Rome to Brindisi, the port from which departed the vessels to Greece, Egypt and the Middle East.

The construction of the Appian Way began in 312 BC and the first part, about 200 km up to Capua, was completed in about five years. As Rome expanded its control on the rest of Italy, the Via Appia was extended to reach Brindisi in 190 B.C. ..

The Appian Way represented an authentic revolution in the road construction technique, so that you may well define it the first "highway" built in the world.
Having been initially designed for military purposes, it had to ensure rapid movements to the troops in any kind of weather. Until then, the existing roads were unpaved, and with the rain, the passage of the wagons was extremely difficult. It was then made a trench filled with sand and stones of different sizes to ensure drainage in the lateral gutters. Above, the road was paved with smooth stones fitted together perfectly. The road width was 4.14 meters so as to allow the easy passage of two wagons. On the two sides there were sidewalks of about 3 meters wide for foot traffic.
To make the journey easier, also, the Appian Way was built with very few curves and inclines. This required the construction of several bridges and viaducts to overcome natural obstacles. Equally it avoided the crossing of the villages, reached by secondary interchanges, not to cause slowdowns. About every 10 km there were the horse-changing stations and every 20 km authentic service stations with places of refreshment and inns.
The Appian Way was the model that inspired the entire road network of the Roman Empire that reached an area of 180000 km.