Doing it the Appian Way

by Luke Archer

After finally managing to secure an Italian SIM (a feat in itself) the combination of sun and Saturday lured me out of the house, and in search of some greenery. What was meant to be a hour-or-so round trip though took three hours; and ended up involving trespassing, ancient ruins and a stampede. Indiana Jones, you say. My thoughts exactly.

Where the Journey Began

I hate double-backing on myself, and when I knew in my bones that I had gone too far in one direction, I admitted defeat pretty quickly; and sacrificed £2 roaming charges so that I could use the map on my blackberry. Eventually I arrived at the entrance of some fields (scrubland) and relished in its, albeit scraggy, glory. I noticed that the map showed a path leading to some catacombs that I had wanted to see, but this path in reality was little more than intermittent dirt tracks and areas of slightly-shorter grass. Undeterred, I ventured towards the top of the hill and struck treasure: fine Roman porcelain.

Like Looking History in the Face

On the other side of the hill, I found an actual path that led toward the catacombs and trundled down it, wondering why so many dogs were barking at me, until I realised that this was not a park at all, but private land. Whilst being barked at from all angles, I had to quickly vault a gate (hard work after four years of city-living) and ran for safety. With the gift of hindsight, I did recall having seen a sign with an exclamation mark inside a red triangle, an international signal of warning which for some reason I ignored completely (tourist-mode). But I am quite sure these warnings and territorial canines are to keep their pottery-rich grounds a secret.

Imposing Dilapidated Farmhouse (Guardhouse)

Optimism bruised, I ambled down some countryside roads which continued to withhold any actual sights of countryside from me. But, Rome does reward the patient (delirious) traveller. As I emerged from the undergrowth, I struck more treasure. Evidence of an ancient civilisation:

Newly Discovered Ruins/Actually the Appian Way

Turns out the Appian Way [Via Appia Antica] is actually quite famous, and I was not the first person to discover it. One of ancient Rome’s most pivotal roads etc etc. I bet no-one has taken my route to get there though.

The Appian Way – Via Appia Antica

BUT, just when I thought I was safe:


After my close encounter with this woollen army, I really am lucky to be alive. So I was not too bothered to find out the catacombs were 8 euros, and that I did not have enough money on me to go.

I will update you all… Once I have braved the fleecy guardians of the crypts, and ventured inside.