Appia Antica

My interest in visiting the Appia Antica is primarily catacombs. However, I know there are a number of other imperial-era sites. I've looked at the website maintained by the park. However, from the website, I can't get an idea of distances. Would it be reasonable to go to the catacombs of S Callisto and Domatilla and then walk to other sites? (recommendations for places to visit?) I'm fine with active days filled with walking; if the word "hike" or "trek" becomes more appropriate, I start to get a little nervous. I'm trying to decide if I should plan to spend a full day on Appia Antica, or if I should budget a half day, focusing only on the two catacombs of primary interest. I'd welcome any guidance. Also, as I understand it, the AA becomes a pedestrian zone on Sunday. I could do Sunday, but Saturday is more convenient, given my plans. What would it be like on a Saturday? (walking in/along a road with lots of fast traffic, or are pathways set off the road?) Does Sunday make a big difference in the experience? Thanks!

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2466 posts

Sherry, the Via Appia Antica is completely flat, so you may be walking a long way but it won't be hiking. You might try google map directions to get a map that shows distances from the catacombs of Domitilla to the tomb of Cecilia Metella. I've never gone on a Sunday, but I have walked that distance during the week with no problems with traffic. There's also a local bus, don't know if that runs on Sundays. Have you been to the churches of Santa Costanza and Sant'Agnese off Via Nomentana? Beautiful mosaics and catacombs but I'm. ot sure of the catacombs schedule.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10868 posts

I assume you are asking about the Appian Way. The traffic on Sunday is restricted to buses and a few cars. Far more pleasant and you can rent bikes. The road portion closer to Rome and the areas of the catacombs is a narrow road with high stone walls - no shoulders - barely enough room to two cars passing. Absolutely no place to walk comfortably. The Archaeological hop on/off bus would be a good option on Saturday. There is also good public transit. South of mile stone 3 it is more open and is the scenic part. The two catacombs sites are San Sebastiano and San Callisto. San Sebastiano is closed on Sunday. Not familiar with Domatilla if that is a catacomb. Sunday makes a big difference.

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2199 posts

Great advice from others. It is not a trek or a hike in the traditional sense and you may find yourselves walking farther than you intended because it is so beautiful. Be sure to stop at Capo di Bove, an under-visited site of an ancient bath with a fine little museum about the history of the AA, including it's (relatively) recent revival and protection as a heritage site.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3580 posts

Use Google Streetview to 'walk' it from the city as far out as you'd like; it's addicting! You can see where the sidewalks are - and aren't - and what the roads look like, plus the walking distances between particluar sites along the way. Then, wander over to the Aquaduct Park..;-)

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3064 posts

Appia Antica is one of my favorite places in all of Rome. Walking the stone roads is just beautiful and peaceful and such a change from hectic Rome.