Discovering Roman Roads


The roads : List of roads>Via Appia>Segment 3


Via Appia        Segment 3        from km 17,8 to km 23,7

Frattocchie (Bovillae) - Ariccia (Aricia)


The small village of Frattocchie (Bovillae), whose origin goes back to far ancient times, is positioned at the merging between the old via Cavona, which led from Sabina to the seaside, and via Albana, which existed long before via Appia and Rome itself, and connected Alba Longa, (the antique name of Castel Gandolfo - important meeting point for sacred cults) to the river Tiber.

After Alba Longa collapsed in 667 BC, Bovillae was raised as the center for the sacred cults, including the ones of the Gens Julia, the family clan of Julius Ceasar.

During the Roman Empire age, the town expanded with a large number of villas and houses that lie today under the new town, except for the remaining ruins of Emperor Tiberio's (AD 14-37) circus.

After Frattocchie, via Appia becomes a very long straight road that goes uphill towards Albano. We can see here and there sepulchers and engineering works that were meant to protect the soundness of the roadbed from the hazards of the hill and volcanic territory .

That stretch of road, just before getting to Albano, offers a wide view of the city of Rome going down to the sea. This can give the measure of the natural scenery that could be seen and enjoyed from the roman villas built there. (Domiziano, Pompeo, Clodio, degli Antonini..).

In this stretch of road we find besides the villas, two monumental graves: the first is called "di Clodio", the second "di Pompeo". The latest has lost 16 meters of heigth due to a bomb of the second world war.

Albano (*) is extremely rich in archeological finds and hosts an interesting Museum.

The city developed after Emperor Septimius Severius (AD 193-211) had a military camp built in the area, Castra Albana, to host the legion he trusted. It was then that the civilian settlements which developed around the camp started to benefit from the situation, and eventually Albano acquired more and more importance.

Via Appia goes through the whole city. Many of the important monuments overlooks it, such as the Pretoria castrum main door and the entrance of the public villa that still preserves remarkable vestiges of the so called "villa di Pompeo".

After Albano, the next city of Ariccia (Aricia) is reached through a viaduct built in 1853 by Pope Pio IX. Via Appia continues instead by taking a right turn where we get into the valley of Ariccia, which was originally a lake that has now drained.

Going down towards the valley, visitors can now admire the so called "Orazi e Curiazi sepulchre", which presents a large quadrangular base and towering cone shaped singular elements positioned at the four angles. Given the existence of another "Orazi e Curiazi sepulchre" at the V mile, legend claims that this can probably be the tumb of Arunte, Porsenna's son, who died during the battle between Etruscans and the inhabitants of Ariccia in 504 BC.

Opposite the monument, we can see the church of Santa Maria della Stella, built over the catacombs of San Senatore.


(*) Albano worth a visit.