A Revelation on the Appian Way

Rocco Forte Hotels

They say all roads lead to Rome – and in the third century BC, they did. Soon you’ll be able to walk a legendary route from Rome to Puglia as details of an ambitious project are unveiled. 

The Italian government plans to reconstruct Italy’s most historic road, the Appian Way, opening up the Italian countryside via the ancient cobblestones of Italy’s oldest trail.

When finished, it will take two weeks to walk the complete route from the Colosseum in Rome to the coastal city of Brindisi. In the meantime, you may want to explore smaller sections – there are 29 to discover, each a manageable six-hour walk – and take a picnic to a beautiful location along the way.

The Appian Way highlights

If setting out from Rome, start your journey under the third-century Arch of Drusus. Admire the old entrance to the city as it looms over your path and imagine the tales the Aurelian Walls could tell – if only the walls could talk.

If you prefer to cycle along the Appian Way, our concierges at Hotel de Russie or Hotel de la Ville can arrange a tour by ebike, beginning and ending in Rome.

At around the eight kilometre mark, look out for the sprawling estate and majestic ruins of Villa dei Quintili. What’s left of Emperor Commodus’s palace still features stunning flooring, elegant arches, original mosaics and marble friezes.

Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica

For the best preserved section of the Appian Way, start your expedition at Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica, a 25-minute drive south of Hotel de Russie or Hotel de la Ville in Rome. Here, you’ll see the beginning of a 17km-long stretch of cobblestones, lined with grooves from the weight of chariot wheels over the centuries. 

Do as the Italians do and take a picnic. Our hotel teams will happily provide an al fresco feast of Italian food so you can have lunch among the pine trees. Learn about the Roman history embedded in the countryside while enjoying antipasti and local wine.

Set aside four hours for a leisurely cycle ride around the bucolic park, dotted with Roman ruins and churches as well as tombs and catacombs – worthwhile exploring via a tour.

The Appian Way in Puglia

If you’re staying in Puglia and prefer to seek out sections of the Appian Way that are closer to Masseria Torre Maizza, pass through the port city of Taranto, home to a cathedral and quaint shops selling religious figurines.

Alternatively, set your sights on the former walled city of Mesagne. A 50-minute drive from our hotel, explore the town’s Baroque architecture and see if you can spot scenic film locations featured in the 2021 James Bond epic, No Time to Die

When you’re ready to venture outside town, discover where archaeologists have unearthed the last of the original cobblestones still visible on the Appian Way – a section of the road that’s currently being restored.

Reap your rewards

Once you reach your destination, whether in Rome or Puglia, enjoy a soothing massage at our Irene Forte Spa. Restore aching muscles after a day of walking or cycling, or celebrate your arrival with a cocktail in our bars.

To find out more about excursions along the Appian Way, talk to our concierges at Hotel de Russie or Hotel de la Ville in Rome, and at Masseria Torre Maizza in Puglia. They can also arrange a personal guide, a picnic and private transport to your chosen beauty spot along the route.

You may also like

Italy By Rail: Our Family-Friendly Itinerary

While air travel becomes ever more functional, the pleasures of the train are undeniable. you can lose yourself in a book, chat with your favourite people or watch from the window as scrolling landscapes unfold. A rediscovered love for rail journeys and a move towards more sustainable travel has fuelled a European-wide rail revolution over the last few years – but Italy has been running its brilliant services for decades. 

Celebrating the Art of Hospitality with Forbes Five Star Ratings

What makes a ‘five-star’ experience? Between seamless hospitality and indulgent surroundings, Forbes Travel Guide knows a thing or two about luxury service. As the only independent rating system for international luxury hotels, restaurants, and spas, we are delighted that six of our hotels are amongst the winners of its 2024 Five-Star Awards. Read on to uncover some of the highlights…