Appia Antica Park is a regional protected area
gazzeted by regional law n°66 of November 10th 1988 "Institution of the
Appia Antica regional suburban park".
When the regional law n°29 was passed in 1997 the area of the Park was enlarged as Tor Marancia was annexed.
The Park's aims are conservation and enhancement of its territory to allow people to enjoy the extraordinary scenic beauty, to learn about and study this fundamental historic, artistic and natural heritage.
312 BC: The consul Appio Claudio gave his name to the route of a new
road to reach Campania and then Brindisi. This new road was paved with
large smooth stones that fitted together perfectly, laid on a bed of
gravel that ensured stability and drainage. This meant that it was
viable in any weather and with any means of transport. With this
revolutionary technique the Republic and the Empire was to build the
vast network of roads throughout the Roman world. The roads are almost
always straight, about 4,10m wide, a width that allows two-way traffic,
with two footpaths to the side and mileposts. The Appia quickly earnt
itself the title of 'Regina viarum', the queen of roads.
Numerous burial constructions are to be found along the first few miles of the road in accordance with the law that forbade burial within the holy walls of Pomerio: there are monuments belonging to important families, columbaria built by confraternities who formed to give their members a decent burial and underground cemeteries belonging to ethnic or religious groups. We can see here the stratification of a priceless historic, cultural and artistic heritage.
Appia Antica Regional Park offers to visitors a journey through the evolution of its territory from its original landscape to one modified by human presence and settlements to the birth of a great road infrastructure - the most important in ancient times - to the present scenery, the result of the collapse of a great political and social system followed by a long period of decay and decadence recently modified by a more serious approach with efforts to recover, reinstate and safeguard.
The Park territory also includes Valle della Caffarella, with the river Almone running through it. It is the most important scenic element reflecting ancient agricultural use close to the city, but it also has a wealth of important monuments from a variety of periods like the temple of the god Redicolo, the Ninfeo di Egeria, the church of Sant'Urbano, the medieval towers; the Tombe Latine and the Parco degli Acquedotti, with the imposing ruins of the conduits that supplied the city with water.
The landscape is the aspect the natural or man-made elements of a
certain territory take. Appia Antica area was directly affected by
the Lazio volcano's activity which began about 600 thousand years ago.
The area was shaped by Capo Bove lava flow which created the flat platform on which the road was built. On top of the volcanic activity came weathering which modified the characteristic undulating aspect.
However other parts of the same area are more regular with broad flatter areas.
The principal characteristic of Appia Antica Regional Park
is that it is a 'green wedge' between the south-east suburbs of Rome
and the Colli Albani. It creates an important wildlife corridor for
this area (a functional biological link).
There are many areas of interest to natural historians within the Park. The ancient Bosco Farnese wood, for example near the via Ardeatina, is made up of downy oak and cork oak; amongst the monuments of the Circo di Massenzio we find a typical 'ruins' flora of great interest; olives, almonds; dense mediterranean scrub with blackberries buckthorn, mastic tree; typical understorey shrubs like hawthorn, spindlewood, dogwood, wild plum. In the damp grass of the Villa dei Quintili there is a host of wild orchids. Near the lake we find the pond water-crowfoot. At Tor Marancia, a recent inclusion to the Park with a good level of natural habitats we can see along the Fosso di Tor Carbone pendulous sedge and black poplar.