So for my birthday with some friends, I took bus number 118. Yeah, I also know the choice to visit ruins on my birthday sounds strange.
Line number 118 reaches the Appian Way, the most important and best preserved consular road built by our grand-grand grandparents. We will never thank them enough for that. Grazie nonni!
So we reached the end of the line and visited the large Villa dei Quintili built in the II century AD by two brothers that the emperor Commodus accused of conspiracy to get hold of their estate. Since then for centuries, the villa remained imperial property. In Middle Ages, the archaeological site was so large that the Romans considered it a separate town and called it the 'Roma Vecchia'.
The Villa dei Quintili and the nearby ruins of the Roman Aqueducts are visible to any traveler landing at Ciampino Airport and driving on the Appia Nuova (the New Appian Way) to reach the city center of Rome.
Since it was opened to the public, the only access to the Villa was from this modern road. Still, the Italian State has recently purchased a new portion of terrain, and it is finally possible to enter the Villa from the Ancient Appian Way while strolling or biking on this peaceful road. The position in the heart of the regional park of the Appian Way makes this Villa a little oasis just off the city walls.
The Villa has a stadium, well-preserved baths, a large ninfeum (fountain), and residential areas that well show the emperors' comfortable life and their entourage.
Moreover, there is a tiny high-tech museum that preserves part of the archaeological finds of the Villa.
On the Appian Way, many monuments can be visited: the Circus of Maxentius, the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, and the oldest Christian Catacombs in Rome.
Take a break for lunch at the small cafè near the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella or the local restaurants (osteria) along the way. Along the Appian way, there is also a Gladiators school in case you travel with children.
Villa dei Quintili can be visited with a ticket that only costs 6 euros and includes entry to the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella and the Caracalla's Baths for seven days.
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