Origins of the valorisation project

The Ancient Appian Way is without a doubt still alive in our collective imaginary for the long range journey which secs its presence distributed in most regions of Southem  Italy and for the important historic tradition by which, still to this day, is remembered as the Queen of Roads Regina Viarium according to the famous definition by the Roman poet Publio Papinio Stazio in the first century AD (Silvae. 2, 2, l2).

This ancient route, built in 3 l 2 B.C. by will of censor Appio Claudio Cieco was meant to fulfil war field necessities, for example the need of soldiers to move quickly between Rome and Capua during the Second Samnite War (326-304 BC). The route was later extended over time to Brindisi in order to facilitate the  military expeditions and commercial trades with the Mediterranean and Eastem regions. The Appian route was also the protagonist of several war episodes: the historical crucifixion of 6000 rebels along the consular that ended the insurrection led by the Thracian Spartacus (71 BC).

The historical events related to the birth of the Appian Way, here remembered very briefly, lead to a reflection on the extraordinary opportunities promoted by the Ministry of Cultural heritage and activities and tourism to reintroduce a route, historicized over thousands of years, in a new key: a path born out of military needs and efficient, effective and fast mobility, is recapitalized and enhanced within a perspective of sustainable mobility (slow travel) and the development and riqualilîcation of a shared heritage far from the big touristic flows. A project that can become a best practice for a strategic and cultural reconversion of the walks.

The presence of a macro aggregate of the cultural and touristic territorial systems walks, paths, great areas — of the Appia Regina Viarium operation in the CIPE Resolution of May 1, 2016 n. FSC 2014-2020, which was approved in the write-off plan “Culture and Tourism” Law no. 190/2014, has allowed the  administration to structure a project that reflects the constant interest of the scientific community and the Ministry of cultural heritage and activities and tourism. The project has to be read at a complex level, that involves multiple programming tools, national and regional, and fits into the strategic planning of Mibact for the national and European funding, also  insisting on those areas where interventions are financed by the ERDF National Development Plan (NDP) “Culture and Development” 2014-2020. This complexity gives not only a new perspective, but also a new governance which, by using all the available tools, provides an innovative methodology, particularly for the strategically important projects.


A new governance model

The new model of inclusive governance interests the same stretch of road as an unicum,cultural asset and attraction as such, which becomes a widespread archaeological site along an axis approximately 600 km long, with the peculiarity to amplify the enhancement effects to the cultural sites ofthc surrounding areas.

The budgetary allocation by the Italian Govemment, by which the project has its own financial sustainability, has made the first significant step possible, the institution of a technical round table in order to draft the development agreement aimed at the identification of the common actions to setup the road system (from Rome to Brindisi) saw the commitment of Mibact General Secretariat and the presidents of Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Apulia Regions.

The aim of the project is to protect and enhance the ancient Appian Way by creating paths and routes that encourage the slow tourism and increase the variety of the national cultural offer.

The recovery of an historical, yet filled with lifeblood, itinerary allows to enhance the overall economic systems of the areas crossed by the ancient road and more directly related to the cultural and touristic fruition, urging the production chains which operate within the culture and tourism systems to build new supply networks.

The Appian Way crosses the Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Apulia regions for a length of 607 km with the involvement of 87 municipalities. Beside the traditional route there is the Trajan variant (Benevento- Brindisi) with a length of3 ll km and a further “coastal” variation of 52 km, which affects the Campania and Apulia regions.

The Mibact identified the archaeological, historical, architectural, naturalistic evidence of the areas that insist along the path, the portions already accessible and the variations needed to the ancient path, established an information system with a geographical reference that collects in one geographic base, an overall database about Cultural Heritage, programming and interventions, in other words a Geo Cultural Hub — Path within the Roman routes. An areal survey of the Appian Way was produced using digital techniques: a photogiammetric survey and a LIDAR (laser) survey for the digital model of elevation.

The Administration is working in cooperation with local municipalities and Regions in order to implement “complementary” development actions for the local and regional properties, by strengthening and organizing the itinerary of excellence; integrating and expanding the fruition to the different infrastructures of the territory. Material and immaterial, which are part of the touristic offer ofthe territories across the Path.

A sharing strategy with an innovative point of view, that follows the EU programming and intersects the managing territories of the Regional Operative Programs (POR) reinforcing the European plan of  evelopment and strengthening, the Southern territories in particular. To this end, for the Palagiano-Taranto stop, where the path will cross the areas belonging to ILVA factory, the Secretary general asked the Technical Board of Taranto C.l.S a feasibility study for a “green Corridor”, protected and reclaimed, with trees and vegetation, that can allow visitors on foot to cross the industrial site. therefore bringing it back to the community. ln this case, in addition to the fundamental technical need to find a valid alternative to the S.S 7 Appian, not suitable for touristic access, seamed appropriate to put in place “symbolic”activities in order to requalify territories that have been consumed by a constant anthropization.

Furthermore an activity of satellite monitoring has been put in place along all the Appian Way, which will involve all the national and international institutes working in this field. This activity has a double purpose: on one had it will give the users the chance to be constantly monitored along every segment of the road, a service that will guarantee constant security in case of emergency (being the user immediately traceable along the path); at the same time it will be possible to acquire historic satellite images and, more importantly, to have contemporary images, so that a constant supervision can be made on the Appian Way, and implement activities to protect the landscape.

А long and complex work, which will return to the consular Appian its epithet of Queen.


Dora Di Francesco

Director of Department II – MiBACT

National and Community Strategic Programming