So for my birthday with some friends I decided to take the bus number 118. Yeah, I know also the choice to visit ruins also the day of my birthday sounds strange..
Line number 118 reaches the Appian Way the most important and best preserved consular road built by our grand-grand-grandparents. We will never thank them enough for that. Grazie nonni!
So we reached the end of the line and visited the large Villa dei Quintili built in the II century AD by two brothers that the emperor Commodus accused of conspiracy in order to get hold of their estate. Since then for centuries the villa remained imperial property. In Middle Ages the archaeological site was so large that the Romans considered it a separate town and called it the 'Roma Vecchia'.
The Villa dei Quintili and the nearby ruins of the Roman Aqueducts are clearly visible to any traveler landing in Ciampino Airport and driving on the Appia Nuova (the New Appian Way) to reach the city center of Rome.
Since it was opened to the public the only access to the villa was from this modern road but the Italian State has recently purchased a new portion of terrain and it is finally possible to enter the Villa from the Ancient Appian Way, while strolling or biking on this peaceful road. The position in the heart of the regional park of the Appian Way makes this villa a little oasis just off the city walls.
The villa has a stadium, well preserved baths, a large ninfeum (fountain), residential areas which well show the comfortable life of the emperors and their entourage.
Moreover there is a tiny high tech museum which preserves part of the archaeological funds of the Villa.
To fully appreciate the Appian Way, I would recommend to start from the Aurelian Walls with the visit of the Museum of the Ancient Walls, to end up at Villa dei Quintili. You will need a full day, to enjoy this part of Rome hiring a bicycle or by foot.
Take a break for lunch at the small cafè near the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella or at the local restaurants (osteria) along the way. Along the Appian way there is also a Gladiators school in case you travel with children.
Villa dei Quintili can be visited with a ticket which only costs 6 euro and also includes the entry to the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, the Caracalla's Baths for 7 days.
If you need any further information, contact me through http://www.mylovelyrome.com