Bike the Appian Way on a Sunday ★★

See the roadside antiquities at a moderate pace, Bike the Appian Way on a Sunday, Rome, Italy (Photo by Daniel N. Lang)
See the roadside antiquities at a moderate pace

On Sundays, the Via Appia Antica is closed to traffic—except for bicyclists

Biking down an ancient Roman road, Bike the Appian Way on a Sunday, Rome, Italy. (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
Those old Roman flagstones make for some bumpy biking, Bike the Appian Way on a Sunday, Rome, Italy. (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

You can rent bikes either in town or at one of four places along the Appian Way (figure €3 ($3) per hour or €10 ($11)–€15 ($17) per day):

  • The "Appian Way Park" office in the barn-like structure on your right as you descend the first hill outside the city's Porta San Sebastiano gate (Via Appia Antica 58–60, tel. 06-513-5316, www.parcoappiaantica.it; Mar–Oct: Mon-Fri 9:30am–1pm and 2–5pm, Sat-Sun 9:30am–5pm; Nov–Feb: Mon-Fri 9:30am–1pm and 2–6pm, Sat-Sun 9:30am–7pm).
  • Largo Tacchi Venturi (tel. 347-842-4087, www.parcoappiaantica.it; Fri–Mon 9:30am–1pm and 2–5pm).
  • Tor Fiscale at Vicolo dell’Acquedotto Felice (tel. 370-350-1284; Sat-Sun 10am–6pm, weekdays by advance booking).
  • Appia Antica Caffé at via Appia Antica 175 (tel. 338-346-5440 or 06-8987-8515, www.appiaanticacaffe.it; Daily 9am–4pm—summer to 7pm except on Mondays).

I warn you, however, that the ancient flagstones are terribly bumpy, so you'll end up riding on the dirt path of the grassy shoulder, which can turn into a bit of mountain biking.

The catacombs charge a fee, of course, but the road is also lined with ancient Roman tombs, monuments, and stretches of aqueduct that make for a lovely outing of free sightseeing.

When, after a while, you pass the little Appia Antica Caffé (via Appia Antica, 175, tel. 06-8987-9575, www.appiaanticacaffe.it; Tues-Sun 9am–8pm, Mon 9am–2pm) on the left at an intersection where your choices are straight or left up Via Cecilia Metella, stock up on snacks and drinks there, as there's nothing but countryside and crumbling ancient, monuments from here all the way to the Castelli Romani hill towns, 19 km (12 miles) away.

Photo gallery
  • See the roadside antiquities at a moderate pace, Bike the Appian Way on a Sunday, Italy (Photo by Daniel N. Lang)
  • Biking down an ancient Roman road, Bike the Appian Way on a Sunday, Italy (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
  • Those old Roman flagstones make for some bumpy biking, Bike the Appian Way on a Sunday, Italy (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

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