Appian Way, Queen of Long-Distance Roads, 312 BC

Original Appian Way Rome, Italy

“Appian Way, Queen of Long-Distance Roads, 312 BC ” by Joan Y. Edwards

On October 2, 2023 I was fortunate to visit Rome, Italy. I went to see the Appian Way…the oldest road there. I heard that it was the Queen of Long Distance Roads and wondered why. Oh my!
I discovered that although this road is technically more than 2,335 years old, ten miles of it still exists!!! I actually stood and walked on it.  Sometimes you have to witness something in person, in picture, or video to understand the strength of things built to last. I’m not sure that Appius Claudius Caecus knew the strength of this highway, but he knew that it was desperately needed to carry troops from Rome to the southern part of Italy. 
The first section to Capua near Naples was approximately 120 miles and  in 244 BC it was expanded to reach Brindisi along the Adriatic Sea on the west coast  of Italy was about 400  miles long. From Brindisi, it was easy to sail to Greece and Egypt.
The Appian Way was built to move troops swiftly and easily during the Samnite Wars. They built forts along this highway, too.  Appian Way was the first long distance road. They built 19 other roads from Rome. Hence the saying, “All roads lead to Rome.” The Appian Way was celebrated by The poets Horace and Statius called it longarum regina viarum, or “queen of long-distance roads.” I definitely agree with that statement.
The Appian Way on an average was 20 feet in width. It was slightly convex to allow the rainwater to drain well. Heavy stone blocks formed the foundation of the road. They were cemented together with lime mortar.  Many sided blocks of lava were smoothly and expertly fitted together. They say this early road was  very smooth, not bumpy or rough edged. No potholes. 
Appian Way intersection with red light and wall
Appian Way Red Light intersection
Today there is a red light at the intersection. In this picture you can see the sign for Appia Antica.

Later times they built the roads like this. They were not and are not known for being smooth like the old Appian Way. So if you go to Italy or other towns where there are cobblestone roads, be careful not to twist your foot. I twisted mine. I am glad to say it healed nicely in about 3 weeks.
  1. “Appian Way”
  2. Live Virtual Tour. “What is the origin of the Appian Way in Rome?”
  3. Rick Steves.  “Time Travel on Rome’s Ancient Appian Way:”
  4. Sidetrack Adventures. “Exploring The Appian Way – Ancient Rome’s First Highway:” 
  5. Worldsiteguides.   “Appian Way – Rome:” 

10 thoughts on “Appian Way, Queen of Long-Distance Roads, 312 BC”

    1. Dear Carol,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you thought it was cool that I got to see and walk on the Appian Way. It was definitely a highlight of our trip. Do something fun for you today.

      Never Give Up

  1. Love this! Who would have thought a road built so long ago would still exist – well, at least part of it.

    I agree with you on the cobbled roads. They can be difficult to traverse.

    1. Fascinating history! Can’t help but think about the millions of others who walked on the stones as you stood in modern day.
      Twisted ankle is ouchy! Glad you healed quickly.
      Be well and thank you for this post, Joan. 👍❤️

      1. Dear Joan Reid,
        Thank you for writing. You are right. It is fascinating to think about the millions of others who walked on those very stones long ago or stood with their feet touching those Appian Way lava stones. It is intriguing to think about and wonder, right? Do something fun.

        Never Give Up

    2. Dear Melanie,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you love this! Makes me smile. That’s what intrigued me was that the road is still in existence and people walk on it and vehicles of varying kinds still travel over it.

      Thanks for agreeing that the cobbled stone roads can be difficult to traverse. If you are looking down, you’re missing the sights. If you don’t look down, your feet might not find the right spot to step. I am a lucky lady. I didn’t have long-term aftereffects. Do something fun.

      Never Give Up

  2. Dear Joan,
    Thanks for this post. I’ve seen the Appian Way from a bus, but I’ve never walked on it. You are so fortunate.
    The Appian Way plays prominently in my soon-to-be-published historical fiction novel. I’ll send you a copy when it’s available.

    1. Dear Barbara,
      Thank you very much for writing. I’m very glad that you got a chance to see the Appian Way from a bus. Even not walking on it is an awesome experience to see it still there after so many years.
      Thank you for saying you will share a copy of your soon-to-be-published historical fiction novel. I look forward to reading it.

      Keep on Writing
      Never Give Up

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