The Appian Way (Via Appia Antica) is an ancient road that once connected Rome with Brindisi in the southeast of Italy. You’d struggle to follow the road all the way till the end today, but you can still walk in the footsteps of the Ancient Romans, walking along the ancient cobblestones of a road lined with fragmented monuments and ruined villas. Quite simply, it’s one of the most atmospheric places in Rome.
Villa dei Quintili is an archaeological site located about five miles along the Appian Way. These sprawling ruins were once a grand country house that belonged to the Quintili brothers, before the Emperor Commodus had them murdered and took the house for himself.
Technically there’s not much to see here, but it’s a peaceful place with relatively few visitors, and somewhere I’ve always found inspiring. Important scenes in my novel “In Exile” take place in the ruins of the villa and along the Appian Way – the perfect setting for people to experience the magic and mystery of the ancient world.
To get to the villa, take the 118 bus from the centre to Appia Antica. It won’t take you all the way to the entrance, but it’s a lovely walk to the villa. While the official address is on Via Appia Nuova, the villa is also accessible from Via Appia Antica (which is much more scenic). Double-check opening hours before you visit, as the archaeological site closes earlier in the winter.