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Biking or hiking the Appian Way

Hi all,

Is there an easy way to get from central Rome out to The Appian Way. I just saw it on Rick’s show and it looks like a great way to spend some time.

Has anyone rented bikes? Gone to the catacombs? Hiked?

Thank you!

Posted by
328 posts

You can get a bus (118) from Piazza Venezia out to the visitor centre near the tomb of Cecilia Metella. There was a cycle hire place nearby. Cycling was fun but it is an ancient, cobbled road, so it is not a smooth ride.

An alternative is to take the metro to the Colli Albani stop and walk down through the Parco del' Appia Antica - which is really pretty and full of old buildings and tombs - The Appian way is on the far side of the park and you can get a bus back to the city centre from the visitor centre mentioned earlier.

Posted by
27502 posts

One of our regular contributors here, Cyn, wrote a whole thread about her experiences doing this, just about 3 weeks ago.

It is at https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/biking-on-the-appian-way-be-forewarned and is well worth reading.

It will probably answer most of your questions.

The thread can be seen as perhaps a bit negative about her experience, but Cyn is usually very upbeat so to see negative comments about how she experienced it means she had a difficult day. I remember the ruts too, but my experiences were pre-covid and hers just happened in the last month.

Well worth a read...

Posted by
8286 posts

Cyn is a very experienced rider, by the way.

Posted by
657 posts

Oh goodness! Rick might need to reshoot his video.

Looks like walking it is the way to go. Metro out, bus back.

Posted by
13360 posts

We hiked it some years ago, and it's been our favorite day in Rome so far! I don't know as I recommend our method of getting on the thing - a cheap, 9-minute train ride to Torricola, then a walk along a couple of roads to a jumping-on point at Casal Rotondo - as it involved some dives into the bushes along the way. There wasn't squat for shoulder on those roads but we got there!

If you are stout hikers, consider what we'll do next time? Take a shuttle bus to Ciampino airport. It's a much shorter jumping-on point from there than where we did it, and it's likely no further, once you factor in the side roads we had to trek to get onto the thing from Torricola. Anyway, there wasn't much at all for car traffic on the AA when out that far into the countryside, and there were lots of interesting. crumbling tombs along the way, as well as the ruin of an Emperor's private circus, another of a private bath, and, yes, catacombs. We did San Sebastiano but you could alternately do San Callisto/Callixtus, depending on if one or the other is closed on the day you do your walk.

You can walk your way back towards the city as far as your feet will carry you and then catch a bus from whichever stop you want to end at. If you have steam left, hang a left on the path just a little north of the Appia Antica Info Center and cut over to Via Cristoforo Colombo. Head north on that to the Baths of Caracalla, Basilica of San Giovanni, Santo Stefano in Rotondo, and/or San Clemente (we did all of them). Find a cafe near the Colosseum, pull up a chair and collapse (we did that too.)

This would be a long day but with an early start, water and snacks packed along, a really fun one. You do not, of course have to take on any more of it than you think you can manage but it's flat so there's not a lot of hills to wear you out sooner rather than not.

Website in English:
https://www.parcoappiaantica.it

Bus info:
https://www.parcoappiaantica.it/home/servizi/come-raggiungerlo

Helpful downloads and links before you go:
Under this link: https://www.parcoappiaantica.it/home/risorse-e-utilita/download/category/1-flyer
Click on AppiaAnticaeng2015.pdf
This is a nice map that tells you what you're looking at along the way.

Click on "BrochureAparkunlikeENG_2019.pdf"
A general brochure for the larger park

Two other maps which may be useful:
GuidaTuristicaITAmappa2019.pdf
GuidaTuristicaITAretro2019.pdf

San Callisto (Closed Weds + listed holidays)
https://www.catacombesancallisto.it/en/index.php

San Sebastiano (closed month of December + listed holidays):
http://www.catacombe.org/uk_index.html

Circus/Villa Massenzio:
http://www.villadimassenzio.it/en/informazioni_pratiche/orari_e_indirizzi

Capo di Bove:
https://www.turismoroma.it/fr/node/1066

Posted by
1843 posts

It was an easy bus ride out and dropped us near the rental spot. I believe Rick’s book provided the instructions. We weren’t Tour de France finalists but we weren’t that decrepit either and that bike ride was torture. Best part was watching the bemused bike renter trying to not laugh out loud when we returned our bikes after about 25 minutes, having told her we’d probably be back in about two hours at the earliest. Safe travels.

Posted by
180 posts

My Wife and I rented Bikes and biked the Appian Way just before Covid hit. We had a ball. We picked up our bikes not too far from the Coloseo (Top Bike Rentals). My only advice is to get a good idea of how you will get there - the maps we were given were terrible. But once we figured out how to go, it was great. There are places to stop and have lunch/refreshments on way as well. Anyway, to answer your question, we rode our bikes out to get to the Appian Way, and wouldn't do it any other way (we were late 50's, and in decent shape). If you are looking for a more leisurely way, then take bus as recommended and rent your bikes when you get out there towards the Appian Way.

However you do it. we had a lot of fun.

Glenn

Posted by
657 posts

Thank you!

A bus (118) from Piazza Venezia out to the visitor centre near the tomb of Cecilia Metella would be the most convenient for us. From there, would we start a 2-3 hour walk out (away from Rome) or walk back toward Rome? I’m a little confused about what 4-6 mile stretch of the Appian Way we should aim for.