It was time for another excursion, so last Sunday Marko and I hit the dusty trail for the southeast outskirts of Rome. After a suggestion by my friend Catherine, I was determined to check out the ruins at Parco degli Acquedotti. For you non-Italian speakers out there, we were off to see the remains of some very impressive aqueducts!
After getting off the metro at the Cinecittá stop, Marko and I used our internal compasses to navigate west towards the park. We walked on a few roads that were not pedestrian-friendly, complete with some very noisy dogs who were not happy to see us walking by. We stayed strong and ended up at an entrance to the park, which is essentially an elongated series of hay fields abutted by a golf course. Funny side-note: this golf course used a Land Rover as the ball collection vehicle, and the range was only 215 yards long… Big hitters, like the Lama, would have been pelting bikers/walkers/runners on the aqueduct trail left and right. Italy must not be a good breeding ground for the long-drive competition.
But back to the real story, the aqueducts. Amazing structures to say the least. Immense connected towers of stone with a slight incline that once carried water for miles to the city center. Those Romans sure did know their physics, and their architectural proficiency is still difficult to top today.
After walking the length of the park, it kind of just stopped. Marko and I were trying to work our way west to the Appia Antica, but apparently there was no good way to make such a maneuver… Instead, we happened upon an abandoned athletics facility, but were trapped in the parking lot area. Simple solution – it was time to climb some fences. I turn into a trespassing rebel when on a mission to get to my destinations.
We were not apprehended for our gate-vaulting, and continued on some more pedestrian-hating roads until we finally reached Appia Antica. This is one of the oldest, and perhaps the straightest cobblestone roads on the planet. Miles and miles of a one-lane road, peppered with stones with deep ruts that were carved by thousands of carriages passing through. To add to the beauty of the road itself, it is lined on either side by numerous ruins and quintessentially Mediterranean umbrella pines.
The walk up the Appia was beautiful, yet was a bit taxing due to the sun’s aggressive midday rays beating down on our backs. After grabbing some pistachio/ginger and cinnamon/stracchiatella gelato, I was sufficiently cooled off, and Marko and I parted ways. I made my way to the last huge church I had yet to see, la Basilica di San Giovanni, which did not disappoint.
Get ready for some extra-Roman travel, the trips are about to get rolling! As I post this, I am waiting in the Fiumicino airport to fly to Sicily and the Aeolian islands for a weekend. Off to a great start with a delayed flight…