Along the Roman Via Appia Along the Roman Via Appia Along the Roman Via Appia Along the Roman Via Appia Along the Roman Via Appia Along the Roman Via Appia Along the Roman Via Appia Along the Roman Via Appia

Along the Roman Via Appia

The final stage of EuroVelo 5 is 378 km long; it runs mainly on low traffic roads and country lanes, except for very short portions on cycle lanes or paths. It starts in Benevento, which is located in Campania region, and after 56 km it crosses the border to Puglia region; on its way to Brindisi the route enters twice in the northern area of region Basilicata for a total mileage of 108 km. In Puglia and Basilicata the itinerary follows long stretches of the Via Appia Antica, called Regina Viarum (Queen of the roads), one of the most important of the roads built by the Romans, because it connected Rome to the main port to the East, which at the time was Brindisi. The Via Appia was in fact used during the following centuries as a pilgrim’s route, efficiently connecting Rome to the main port to Jerusalem.

Benevento displays many traces of the Roman domination, like the well preserved Arch of Traiano and the  theatre; it boasts also a Unesco site, the church of Santa Sofia, with a very fine cloister. The hilltop town of Ariano Irpino is one of the most interesting of the quiet and green area, which is named Irpinia, and an ideal place to stop for the night. A country road along an easy uphill takes the route to the border to Region Puglia and to the next, small hilltop town of Monteleone di Puglia.  After having touched Accadia and Candela the route runs over the bridge to cross the river Ofanto, which marks the border to region Basilicata. The longest climb of the whole stage 10 leads to Melfi, a medieval town where the commanding castle built by Frederick II hosts the National Archaelogical Museum. The area is also well known as the home of the Aglianico del Vulture, one of the greatest red wines of Italy. The following city of Venosa is nonetheless rich in history, boasting a beautiful abbey and the famous “Incompiuta” (Unfinished), aside of the ruins of the Roman city. While the landscape appears drier the route touches Gravina in Puglia and Matera, whose old towns are very similar and scenic, although the second is larger and very well known since 1993, when the Sassi districts were declared a Unesco site. In spite of the difficult access, the city of Taranto deserves a visit, not only for its glorious past, but also for the scenic position between 2 seas. The last portion of the route crosses the flat Salento peninsula, heading east along silent country roads. Each of the towns touched by the route is unique and fascinating; some of them are very well preserved, and surprisingly off the beaten track. Brindisi is traditionally open to visitors and will not fail to communicate its charme; the scenic staircase conventionally believed to be the end of the Appia Antica is the right place to recall such a great travel through history, tradition and nature in the warm south of Italy.

  • Sassi di Matera

    Located in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, Sassi di Matera comprises a complex of houses, churches, monasteries and hermitages built into the natural caves of the Murgia. Covering an area of 1,016 ha this remarkable and intact troglodyte settlement contains more than a thousand dwellings and a large number of shops and workshops. The property was first occupied during the Palaeolithic period and shows evidence of continuous human occupation through several millennia until the present day, and is harmoniously integrated into the natural terrain and ecosystem. The morphology of the territory, characterized by deep ravines (gravine) and bare highland plateaus, integrated with ancient cave churches, shepherd tracks marked by wells, and fortified farmhouses, form one of the most evocative landscapes of the Mediterranean.

  • Venosa, Castello ducale Del Balzo & Museo Archeologico

    The Aragonese Castle has a square ground plan with cylindrical towers and stands on ramparts, surrounded by a deep moat. It was Pirro del Balzo, who financed its construction between 1460 and 1470, choosing a site that was occupied by the first Venetian Cathedral. During that time, part of the cylindrical towers, which mark the corners of the quadrangular plant, and the alignment, were raised.Today the interior of the castle is partly used by the National Archaeological Museum. This contains a choice of materials designed to convey the historical development of the city and its gravitational territory, from the pre-Roman period to the late Empire and the Normans. Particularly interesting are pottery, numismatic collection, floor mosaics, wall paintings and burial types, accompanied by a reliquary cross from the VIII-IX century.

  • Benevento, Chiesa di Santa Sofia (UNESCO)

    The church Santa Sofia in Benevento, southern Italy is a prime example of Lombard architecture. It was founded around 760 by the Lombard Arechis II of Benevento. The church was severely damaged by earthquakes in 1688 and 1702 and was later rebuilt in Baroque style. Later in 1957 most of the original appearance was restored, basing on evidence from historical documentation, with the exception of the Baroque façade.Since 2011 it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Taranto, Duomo di San Cataldo

    The cathedral of San Cataldo is the oldest Apulian cathedral, in Taranto. Originally dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene and later to the bishop St. Cataldo, it was built by Byzantines in the second half of the X century, during the reconstruction work of the city ordered by Emperor Niceforo II Foca. In the last years of the eleventh century, the Byzantine plant was rebuilt and the present basilic cathedral was built. However, the old building was not replaced altogether: the longitudinal arm, extended and lowered, incorporated the central nave with the deep apse of the Byzantine church, which remained unaltered; The altar is placed under the dome and the old nave became the transept, then cut off from the side aisles, leaving in sight a series of columns decorating the ancient construction. In 1713 the Baroque facade was added, by the architect Lecce Mauro Manieri.

  • Certified EuroVelo Route
  • Developed route with EuroVelo signs
  • Developed route
  • Route under development
  • Route at the planning stage

The stages