A Morning Walk on the Appia Antica
Start at the Porta San Sebastiano, the grandest city gate of them all, where you can visit the
Museo delle Mura
. Climb the stairs for great views. From here, continue straight on along the
Via Appia Antica
. One of the first sights you’ll come to, on the left at a
crossroads, is the small church of Domine Quo Vadis? – this marks the
spot where Peter, fleeing persecution, encountered Christ and decided to
return to Rome and face his martyrdom like a saint. The church contains
a replica of footprints in stone, said to be those of Christ, but it is
actually an ancient pagan ex voto.
Quite a bit further ahead, you’ll come to the Catacombs of San Sebastiano.
Take the guided tour, and don’t miss the curious fresco of a bowl of
fruit and a partridge, which, according to some ancient writers, was the
most lascivious of all creatures. Continuing on, past a mobile bar
where you can buy snacks and drinks, visit the Circus of Maxentius, an
ancient racetrack. Note how amphorae
were embedded in the bricks to lighten the construction of the upper
grandstands. Last stop will be the 1st-century BC Tomb of Cecilia
Metella. The frieze of bulls’ skulls and garlands is beautiful and the
cone-shaped sanctum is peaceful.
For lunch, walk back to the
. After lunch, backtrack a few hundred metres to the bus stop to catch the No. 118 into town.
Daytrips from Rome
hilltown is renowned for its gardens and the villa of Cardinal d’Este,
built in the 16th century and boasting 100 fountains.
as the emperor’s summer retreat between AD 118–134, the area was a vast
open-air museum of reproductions of Hadrian’s favourite buildings.
Via Tiburtina, 6 km (4 miles) southwest of Tivoli
COTRAL bus from Ponte Mammolo
06 3996 7900
Open 9am–1hr before sunset daily
Mosaic pavement, Hadrian’s Villa
Ionic columns, Hadrian’s Villa
A museum of Etruscan artifacts famous for its 4th-century BC terracotta horses.
The necropolis of this 6th-century BC city is quite intact,
with streets, houses and frescoes.
is much to attract in this area of the Alban Hills. Swim in Lago di
Albano, or visit Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia, a Baroque complex designed by
Bernini in the 17th century.
From the 16th-century Villa Aldobrandini you can take in magnificent panoramas of Rome.
Metro Anagnina, then COTRAL bus
06 678 7864
Open 9am–1pm, 3–6pm Mon–Fri (until 5pm in winter)
This town boasts the greatest Hellenistic temple in Italy. Among the treasures unearthed here is a 2nd-century BC mosaic.
Metro Anagnina, then COTRAL bus
Museum: Open 9am–7pm daily, Adm
The Ostia sea strip to the city’s south is dotted with beach clubs and free beaches (spiaggia libera).
Within this medieval town’s walls, visit the Papal Palace, the Archaeological Museum and the Fontana Grande.
In AD 79 the volcano Vesuvius erupted, and this city was buried and preserved forever.
Places to Eat
Allo Sbarco di Enea, Ostia Antica
but fun. The waiters dress up in Roman gear and the decor is like a
low-budget epic movie. The speciality is fish try the spaghetti alle vongole (clams).
Jet Set, EUR
pleasant surprise in rather flavourless EUR. Huge picture windows right
on the lake make lunch a visual treat. The menu offers light fare and
the fish dishes are nicely presented.
Piazza U. E. Terracini
Metro EUR Palasport
06 591 3743
Closed Sun L
Ristorante l’Archeologia, Via Appia Antica
elegant converted farmhouse, where you dine around the fireplace in
winter and in the garden in summer. Rustic regional fare, such as roast
lamb and homemade pasta.
Via Appia Antica 139
06 788 0494
La Villetta dal 1940, Piramide
favourite hangout of 20th-century Surrealist painter Giorgio De Chirico
and his crowd of passionately avant-garde artists. The food is hearty
and traditional Roman fare, such as saltimbocca alla romana (veal and ham).
Viale della Piramide Cestia 53
Buses 23, 30, 75, 95, 280, 716, 719
06 575 0597
A seasonably varied menu, which includes exquisite desserts, sets this vegetarian restaurant apart.
Via Prenestina 396a
06 445 4105
Closed for L
La Sibilla, Tivoli
The most spectacular spot in town, overlooking Villa Gregoriana.
San Marco, Tarquinia
An old converted monastery. Game and funghi selvaggi (wild mushrooms) in season are good.
Pinocchio (also a hotel) specializes, as does this entire area, in the celebrated porchetta (pork roast).
On the beach and great for seafood.
Enoteca La Torre, Viterbo
This bar-restaurant offers local dishes, with an emphasis on fish. Great wines too.
Unless otherwise stated, all restaurants accept credit cards and serve vegetarian meals