Rome's Via Appia: A key road in history, culture and Christianity
August 30, 2012. The phrase 'all roads lead to Rome' came about because of the great routes that linked several different empire territories to the capital of Rome.
The Via Appia is considered the world's first major highway. It was built in 312 BC, and despite the limits of the time, the highway linked Rome to the city of Brindisi, which led to Greece and the East.
Thousands of soldiers commissioned with conquering lands, have passed through here. In fact, this is the same route used by St. Peter and St. Paul when they first arrived to Rome and were welcomed by early Christians.
According to tradition, this is also where Jesus appeared before St. Peter as he was facing persecution. When the apostle asked Jesus where he was going he responded “To Rome, to be crucified again.” That gave St. Peter enough courage to go back into the city and continue his mission. He was crucified, where the Basilica of St. Peter stands today.
“It's a strong sense of history, and peace. It's calm, it's peaceful and just an overwhelming sense of history”.
Back then, Roman law forbade burials within the city. So, cemeteries, graves and memorials were built outside, like this one belonging to Cecilia Metella.
Pope Callistus I ordered the construction of the famous catacombs on Via Appia. Forty six popes are buried there along with roughly 200,000 Christians, including St. Sebastian.
"It was a very strange feeling to see all this places were the Christians gathered where they put their... belongings and came to hide perhaps on time of persecutions.”
The first 11 miles of this Roman road are also part of the Via Appia park, which priceless heritage, boats over 2,000 years of history.