1. The Appian Way
All roads lead to Rome, the saying goes. And on this trail from Itri to Fondi on the Appian Way that cuts through the Mount Aurunci Natural Park, you will see for yourself how it literally does! The Appian Way was first constructed by the Romans in 312 BC for military transport and the section I hiked, pictured here from Itri to Fondi, is one of the most preserved sections of the Appian Way. It won't rate high in the difficulty scale for either hiking or mountain biking, but for sheer historical significance, setting foot on the Appian Way is a surreal experience.
Terracina is a small, charming seaside town that has roots dating back to ancient times. It is located in the region of Lazio, about 70 miles south of Rome. The city center is charming and surprisingly bustling for its size, but the real jewel is at the top of Mount Saint Angelo, elevation ~4500', which is the site of ancient ruins such as the Temple of Jove Anxur believed to have been built in the 1st Century. Terracina also has pretty beaches and their white wines made from muscat grapes are ravishing.
About 40 miles southeast of Rome is a small town called Piglio. It would otherwise be a quiet and empty town with gorgeous mountains surrounding it, except that on the day I arrived, the town was pulsating with festivities and it was crowded with rock climbers! There was a suspended aerialist at the gate of the town, a bearded guy with a tambourine leaning against a wall, boulderers and climbers parading by, climbing shoes dangling from their hips. It turned out that there was a climbing festival called "Wine Street Boulder" that was in full effect. It is one thing to admire and revel in the history of these walls -- but to actually send one?!
Only 20 miles south of Rome is a beautiful lakeside town surrounded by mountains called Nemi. On a brisk, calm morning, we went on a hike that would start from the sleepy town center with stunning views of Lake Nemi, through the woods of the Regional Park of Castelli Romani, to arrive in another lake town, Castel Gandolfo. Though only about 6 miles one way with about 500' of elevation gain, the trail called "Via Francigena" was one of my favorite experiences on this Italian trip.
Most tourists never veer away from the major Italian cities, and I hope by showing you the possibilities for adventure in the Italian countryside, you too could one day make memories. Thanks for following along and until the next adventure!