"The Road From Ravenna" (September 2006)
In the footsteps of the last Roman emperor. By Cullen Murphy
Two days is enough to see Ravenna, whose historic center is compact and well suited to walking. Time a longer visit to coincide with the Ravenna Festival, which for seventeen years has brought music, theater, opera, and dance to this former imperial city. The festival runs for several weeks in June and July and offers concerts and acts in venues that are as mesmerizing as the groups the festival attracts. Past performances have included Oscar Wilde’s Salome and an appearance by the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Via Dante Alighieri, 1
48100 Ravenna, Italy
The idea for the Appian Way Archaeological Park (Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica) originated in the late 1800s, when development began encroaching on the remains of the Via Appia. In 1988, after decades of pressure from conservationists, the park opened as an archeological and wildlife preserve. Be sure to visit the San Sebastiano catacombs, which once held the remains of the apostles Peter and Paul, and the imposing circular mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, the daughter-in-law of one of Caesar’s triumvirate.
Via Appia Antica, 42
00179 Rome, Italy
Visit the Aurelian Wall Museum (Museo delle Mura) to learn more about the history of the Aurelian Wall, built to keep the barbarians out of Rome. The museum makes a good starting point for a walk along one of the longest contiguous sections of this ancient structure. It is temporarily closed for renovations, so be sure to call in advance.
Aurelian Wall Museum
Via di Porta San Sebastiano