When you're tired of central Rome, it's easy to get out into the Roman countryside and take in historic sites like the Appian way. It makes for a great walk. From Trastevere, just walk past the Circus Maximus and the Caracalla Baths and soon you're on the Via Appia. When Rome's temperature soars, you can always drop in to one of the three cool Catacomb complexes found along the Appian Way and marked on the Map below. Click or tap the markers to see what they contain.
The map markers are in Italian, but there are pictures of each destination. As you can see, there are lots of compelling sites along the Via Appia Antica.
Besides the Caracombs, here are four top attractions:
The Villa dei Quintili was the largest Roman villa complex in the suburbs. Originally built by the Quintili family, the villa was taken over by Emperor Comodus when he had the bothers executed in 182 – 183 AD and the villa became imperial property, enlarged and used by emperors until the 5th century. Step lightly.
Circus of Maxentius, which is close to the Tomb of Caecilia Metella, also a must see along the Via Appia Antica
Capo di Bove: Capo di Bove contains the thermal baths on a property owned in the 2nd century AD by Herodes Atticus and his wife Annia Regilla. An onsite villa incorporates bits of Roman history amongst the brickwork, and there is an exhibition of maps inside. Very interesting.
Appian Way Map
Appian Way Travel Toolbox
The Parco Regionale Appia Antica has lots of information on how to get there and what to do. It's marked on the map, so go there as soon as you get to the Via Appia (a good place to start on your walk is the Baths of Caracalla, the northernmost marker on the map).
There is a gap in the markers between Copo di Bove and the Villa dei Quintili, which can be covered by bus if you don't wish to walk. Instructions are given in the linked article.
You could spend several days on the Via Appia, checking out the sites nearby.
Restaurants on the Appian Way
There are several restaurants on the Appian way--our current favorite eatery is the one shown in the picture, Trattoria Qui Nun Se More Mai on Via Appia Antica 198. It offers a simple Roman cuisine based upon fresh vegetables offered as a antipasti, 12 euro for a table full of plates, and grilled meats. You can reserve and get user ratings via the information on the Trattoria's Facebook page.
Although pricy and a bit "touristy", is Ristorante Cecilia Matella at via Appia Antica 125-129, a short ways away from the Tomb of Cecilia Metella.
Folks also like the food at Trattoria di Priscilla on via Appia Antica 68. Closed Sundays.
Catacombs on the Appian Way
Yes, most folks come for the bone collections in the Catacombs. You can visit three of the top coatacombs along the Appian Way, they are marked on the map above.
- Catacombs of St. Callixtus, Catacombe di San Callisto: St. Callixtus, the biggest and most popular, has a network of galleries about 19 km long and 20 meters deep. You'll also find the most tours and tour buses here. Highlights of the catacombs include the crypt of nine popes and early Christian frescoes, paintings, and sculptures. Closed on Wednesdays and in February.
- Catacombs of St. Domitilla, Catacombe di San Domitilla: St. Domitilla has the oldest catacombs. Entrance is through a fourth century church. Tour groups at St. Domitilla tend to be smaller. One of the highlights is a second century fresco of the Last Supper. Closed on Tuesdays and in January.
- Catacombs of St. Sebastian, Catacombe di San Sebastiano: St. Sebastian has about 11 km of tunnels but the tour is restricted to a fraction of this. Highlights of the catacombs include early Christian mosaics and graffiti. Closed Sundays and November 13-December 11.
For those who want a planned experience with transportation, you may wish to look into the following tours available through Viator.
Where to Stay in Rome & Near the Appian Way
Appia Park Apartment gets some rave reviews. It's 800 meters from the Appian way. Less expensive is the Hotel Kolping Casa Domitilla, a mere 200 meters from the Catacombs of Domitilla. Both of these are in areas much quieter than central Rome.
Rome Vacation Rentals - Here you'll find over 1600 rentals in the Rome area, from palaces to one bedroom apartments.
Tomb of Caecilia Metella (Mausoleo di Cecilia Metella)
One of the many attractions along the Appian way is the first century Tomb of Caecilia Metella (the round tower) and the 12th century Castrum alongside.