Take the bus near piazza Venezia, next to the theater of Marcellus, and get off just before Gate St. Sebastian to visit the Museum of the Ancient Roman Walls. From the top of these ancient walls, the view of the Roman countryside is a balm for the soul. The beginning of the Appian Way runs in a Regional Park of 8400 acres where sometimes you can still meet shepherds with their herd.
Catch bus 118 and stop at the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, the oldest underground cemetery for Early Christians in Rome. Catacomb comes from Greek, which means close to the cavity, a dip created right here to extract a stone called tufa.
Take some time to visit the catacombs and the above baroque church with its relics, like the footprints of Jesus, the tomb of St. Sebastian, the amazing wooden ceiling, and the bust of the Savior, probably the last work by Bernini.
From this point, you will abandon the 118 bus route and reach by foot the best-preserved Circus of Rome, the Circus of Maxentius, with the nearby Tomb of Romulus. The Circus still has two corner towers and the central wall around which horses ran anti-clock. The tomb of Romulus, son of Maxentius, who died prematurely, is attached to a modern building that was once a restaurant that used the tomb to refrigerate wine and food. Leaving Maxentius property, the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, a I century BC rich tomb, will be your next stop.
The imposing and familiar view of the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella has been portrayed by many foreign painters visiting Rome for centuries. This ancient tomb can be recognized by the battlements added during Middle Ages when it was transformed into the Caetani Castle.
Time for a break in a small cafe which is also renting bicycles. Little birds singing and the sun on your face make it hard to leave this place but it is now time to visit the baths of Capo di Bove, a tiny archaeological site recently excavated and opened to the public for free.
The guardians are extremely polite and are always happy to tell you the story of this private estate donated by a rich woman to Italy.
For the expert walkers, I would suggest continuing three kilometers up on the Appian Way to reach the new entrance of Villa Dei Quintili. Few know about this new entrance, and the staff is lovely and helpful here.
Exit from the other side of the Villa dei Quintili, after exploring the tiny museum, cross the modern New Appian way and catch the bus 118 to return to the city center.
Useful Tips: If you don't want to waste time waiting for the 118, download one of the many apps monitoring public buses. The bus also passes in front of the Colosseum and Circus Maximus, both on the B Line route. At the beginning of the Appian way, at number 42, you will find the office of the Regional Park to rent bicycles.
From the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, if you don't want to reach the Villa dei Quintili by foot, go down on Via Cecilia Metella and catch the 118 on via Appia Pignatelli. The 118 after the Catacombs of St. Sebastian turns on Via Appia Pignatelli, the parallel street to the Ancient Appian Way.
The Museum of Aurelian Walls closes at 14; Capo di Bove closes at 16:00, Catacombs and Villa de Quintili around 17. Always check the opening times of sites because the timetables change in summer with longer openings.
The ticket to the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella is a bargain. It allows the visit to two other sites: the Caracalla's Baths and the Villa Dei Quintili, a little further up on the Appian Way.
If you've saved some energy, you can reach the Park of the Aqueducts from the A line stops of Lucio Sestio, Publio Agricola, or Subaugusta and enjoy the seven aqueducts which pass here.
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