It is back to Rome in 2015, after a few years’ absence. We are on our way to our son’s graduation in Scotland and we will visit our daughter (the Editor of the blog!) in Milano before that. After this is completed, it will be back to Africa.
After a 13 hour of a rather sleepless flight we arrived at our friends house in the Via Appia, yes, we are very fortunate to stay at that magnificent place where once upon a time the Roman legions moved in and out of Rome on their way to Africa and other conquests!
The weather as it is normal here is great, sunny and warm without being too hot yet. On arrival and unable to sleep due to jet lag we decided to walk to town following the Appian way to stretch our legs, get tired and sleep well.
From our friends’ house we passed the Capo di Bove with its thermal baths dating back to the middle of the 2nd century. These baths were used privately until at least the 4th century and its name derived from the cattle head sculptures on the nearby tomb of Caecilia Metella. We also passed the latter, the best preserved mausoleum that signaled that we were three miles from Rome. Caecilia Metella was the granddaughter of Marcus Crassus who served under Julius Caesar.
After a short while we passed the Basilica of St. Sebastian that is also the entry of the homonymous catacombs and built originally in the first half of the 4th century. St. Sebastian was a popular Roman martyr of the 3rd century and the church was built over a small catacomb. Continuing on our way we crossed the Via Ardeatina and, before the tomb of L. Volumnius and I. Tyrannis we turn left to enter into a favourite area of ours where the Catacombs of Callixtus are located.
This is an approximately 2 km walk over beautiful fields at the moment sprinkled with red poppies, where the Dio Silvano college and the Ipogeo de Vibia are also found that ends back in the Appian Way, just across the Church of St Mary in Palmis, better known as the church of Domine Quo Vadis. It was here that, according to the legend, St. Peter had a vision of Jesus and asked him: “Lord, where are you going?” (In Latin: Domine, quo vadis?) to what Jesus answered, “I am going to Rome to be crucified again” (In Latin: Romam vado iterum crucifigi). After this encounter St. Peter returned to his own crucifixion!
After this rather historical walk we moved to the actual modern city where we did some shopping, ate some pizza on the street and ended up with ice cream from our favourite shop at Garbatella quarter, The latter was founded in the late 1920s with its typical project units (In Italian: “lottos”), Rococo-style buildings grouped together around a common yard. This gives this quarter a friendly and rather familiar atmosphere.
When I looked at the pedometer it showed 9 km! It was time for a “cappuccino stop”. After the tasty pause we recovered our forces and got back home trying to find a shorter way!
Errata: What I referred to as Dio Silvano College was in fact the Istituto Salesiano San Callisto.