Roman History of Itri

The Roman thoroughfare the Appian Way or Via Appia runs directly through Itri. It is a testament to the remarkable organisational and engineering ability of the Romans. Construction of this, the first and most famous of the ancient Roman roads, was commenced in 312 AD by Appius Claudius Caecus.  It was called the Queen of Roads or the Regina Viarum and was to be the main means of communication between Rome and the south. The first stretch ran to Capua, and was later extended down to Brindisi, with a total length of more than 563 km (350 miles). In effect it was the very first motorway even built. Sections of this road can still be seen just outside of Itri, paved with smoothly fitting blocks of hard wearing lava.

Cicero, the Roman orator writer and statesman, is thought to have owned a holiday villa in the nearby town of  Formia.

Roman Tomb or Mausoleum of Cicero near Itri in Italy
Appian Way between Itri and Fondi in Italy
photo by Patrick Abbott

He opposed Julius Caesar and following Caeser’s death he became an arch enemy of Mark Antony. Cicero was apprehended whilst trying to flee from his political enemies, and brutally murdered in 43 BC on the Appian Way. He was beheaded and had his right hand severed, and these were taken as trophies to be displayed in Rome. Cicero’s Mausoleum, a 24 metre cylindrical tower, is situated on the Appian Way, on the outskirts of Formia.

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