The Appian Way, or Appia Antica, is one of Rome’s most famous and historic roads, lined with ancient ruins, tombs, and catacombs. It is a good place to walk and see some of the most interesting ruins in the city. The Via Appia Antica technically starts at Porta Capena, which is close to Circa Massimo. However, modern Rome has pretty much swallowed this and the most preserved part of the Appian Way is located about 5 miles (8 kilometers) southeast of the city center You can get to the Appia Antica (sometimes called Via Appia Antica) many ways, including public transit, taxi, bike, and even on foot.
How you get to the Appia Antica from the center of Rome depends on how much time you have and the type of experience you want have:
Appia Antica by Public Transportation
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get to the Appia Antica is by public transit. The road is well-served by several bus lines, including the 118 and 218 (Domine Quo Vadis stop), 660, and 663. To get to the Appia Antica from the center of Rome, take the metro Line A to the San Giovanni stop and then transfer to one of the bus lines mentioned above. Or you can take the 30 (express), 714 and 715 via Cristoforo Colombo (Cristoforo Colombo/Bavastro stop or Cristoforo Colombo/Circonvallazione Ostiense stop) and then short walk along the Circonvallazione Ardeatina through Scott Park… but this is a bit more trafficked and complicated.
You can purchase bus tickets at any metro station, tobacco shop, or newsstand. Some metro stations and buses are also rolling out tap-to-pay options but it is sometimes better to have a physical ticket if you plan to transfer. Here is a full guide to how to buy a bus ticket in Rome. A single bus-metro ticket costs €1.50 and is valid for 100 minutes of travel, including transfers. I recommend using the Moovit app to find the best stop and know which bus is coming next.
Getting to the Appia Antica by Taxi
If you prefer a more direct and comfortable way to get to the Appia Antica, you can take a taxi from the center of Rome. Taxis are readily available throughout the city, and you can hail one on the street or find one at a taxi stand. The journey from the center of Rome to the Appia Antica takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic, and costs around €20-30. Be sure to confirm the meter is on with the driver before getting in the taxi. You can decline if they suggest a flat rate. Flat rates are only for the airport. Here is more information on common taxi scams in Rome.
By Bike to the Appian Way
For a more active and adventurous way to get to the Via Appia Antica, you can rent a bike and ride along the road. There are several bike rental shops in the center of Rome, including near the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. My favorite is Fat Tire. The journey to the Appia Antica takes about 30-45 minutes, depending on your speed and fitness level. The road is mostly flat and easy to ride, and there are plenty of places to stop and admire the ancient ruins and monuments along the way. However, the best day to do this is on Sunday when traffic in Rome in general tends to be lighter and when the Appia Antica is closed to traffic. (Sunday is the best day to visit if you want to walk along the Appian Way for the same reason). I would only suggest this for experienced bikers because biking on Roman roads is not for the faint of heart. The Appia Antica itself is quite uneven, as well. If you want to get more comfortable on two wheels first, this is my favorite Rome bike tour.
Getting to the Via Appia on Foot
If you enjoy walking and want to experience the Appia Antica at a leisurely pace, you can also walk to the road from the center of Rome. The journey takes about 1-2 hours, depending on your starting point and walking speed. You can follow the ancient Aurelian Walls from the Colosseum to the Porta San Sebastiano, one of the original gates of the city, and then continue along the Appia Antica. Along the way, you’ll pass by several historic landmarks, including the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla, and the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella.
Tips for Visiting the Appia Antica
Once you’ve arrived at the Appia Antica, there are several things to keep in mind to make the most of your visit. First, wear comfortable shoes and clothing, as the road can be uneven and dusty in places. You also want to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, especially during the summer months, as there are few places to buy supplies along the way. If you plan to spend a bit of time out there, you should also pack a picnic. Finally, take your time and enjoy the scenery, as the Appia Antica is one of Rome’s most beautiful and peaceful areas, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
Getting to the Appia Antica will just be the start of your adventure! Enjoy this unique part of Rome where ancient history and modern Roman life collide.