All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Historical Roads of Rome
The reliefs of
Trajan's Column portray in many scenes
Roman soldiers in the act of constructing a road through the forests of Dacia. The ancient
Romans may not have added too much to the design of temples,
engineering skills marked a significant step forward in the control of the environment and in making
everyday's life more comfortable: even in the most far-away province of the Empire they built
roads, bridges, aqueducts, canals,
harbours, baths, circuses.
Certainly travelling on a Roman road was not very comfortable: the large flat stones of basalt did not provide the continuity and smoothness of today's asphalts, but they are still where they were placed 2000 years ago: this because they were laid upon a multi-layer structure having a depth of 4 ft. which ensured their stability.
Stratum is the Latin word for layer and the Romans called their multi-layer roads via strata from which the words strada (Italian), street (English), strasse (German), straat (Dutch) have come.
The names of the historical roads departing from Rome can be grouped in three categories:
a) the most important roads were named after a consul (thus they are called consular roads): Cassia, Flaminia, Appia, Aurelia;
b) local roads were named after the town they reached: Nomentana, Tiburtina, Prenestina, Casilina, Tuscolana, Ardeatina, Ostiense, Portuense;
c) roads named after a particular use they were known for: Salaria, Trionfale.
1850 ca. Map of the environs of Rome
1) Via Cassia: it branches off Via Flaminia at Ponte Milvio and leads to northern Italy through Viterbo, Siena and Florence; locations near Rome along Via Cassia shown in this website: S. Maria di Galeria, Isola Farnese and Formello.
2) Via Flaminia: it starts at Porta del Popolo and it leads northwards to Rimini, a town on the Adriatic Sea; locations near Rome along Via Flaminia shown in this website: Prima Porta and Malborghetto.
3) Via Salaria: it starts at Porta Salaria and it leads eastwards to S. Benedetto del Tronto again on the Adriatic Sea through Rieti and Ascoli; the road was used for the salt trade and it is named after it; locations near Rome along Via Salaria shown in this website: Ponte Salario.
4) Via Nomentana: it starts at Porta Pia and it leads to the small town of Nomentum, today Mentana; locations near Rome along Via Nomentana shown in this website: S. Agnese fuori le Mura and Ponte Nomentano.
9) Via Appia (Nuova): it starts at Porta S. Giovanni and by following in part the old Via Latina reaches Via Appia before Albano; locations near Rome along Via Appia Nuova shown in this website: Tombe della Via Latina.
10) Via Appia: it starts at Porta S. Sebastiano and it leads to Brindisi (and across the sea to Greece): for its importance it was called Regina Viarum (Queen of the roads); locations near Rome along Via Appia shown in this website: Basilica di S. Sebastiano and Tomba di Cecilia Metella and many other monuments.
11) Via Ardeatina: it branches off Via Appia near Basilica di S. Sebastiano and it leads to Ardea, a small town near the Tyrrhenian Sea; locations near Rome along Via Ardeatina shown in this website: SS. Nunziata and Santuario della Madonna del Divino Amore.
15) Via Trionfale: its name derives by the fact that the consuls or the emperors returning to Rome after a victory preferred to branch off Via Cassia and enter Rome through Ponte Trionfale; locations near Rome along Via Trionfale: S. Francesco d'Assisi a Monte Mario.Other Directories The Streets of Rome