20 August 2009
"All roads lead to Rome". When you spend much time in Italy, not just around Rome, it does seem that all roads do eventually lead to Rome and that is for good reason. Many of the roads used today in Italy and other parts of Europe were built by the Romans as ways to access their Empire from the capital city. You may not be able to see the original road but that asphalt highway, country road or even many modern city streets are built over roads laid down by the Romans over 2000 years ago.
The first major road the Romans built to their expanding empire was the Appia Antica (Appian Way) constructed in the third century BC by Appius Claudius Caecus. Outside of Rome you can still walk on parts of this ancient highway…now that is a well built road. These engineering marvels have survived in part due to their excellent base and a surface of crystalline basalt block, using materials readily available in and around Rome.
We have been able to walk on these roads outside the Colosseo in Rome and in various cities around Italy. As you walk along these routes it is hard not to imagine the history that has passed over their surfaces during the past 2000 years.