Italy seeks Unesco World Heritage Status for Appian Way

Ancient Roman road is central to Italy's slow tourism plans.

Italy has begun the candidacy process to have the Via Appia Antica inserted in the Unesco World Heritage List, the Italian culture ministry announced on Thursday.

The bid for Unesco recognition refers to the full route of the Appian Way, from Rome to Brindisi in south-east Italy, and including the Via Traiana, built by Emperor Trajan as an extension of the ancient Roman road from Beneveneto to Brindisi.

"The Appian Way is an itinerary to be enhanced and placed at the centre of slow tourism to strengthen the offer of new attractions such as sustainable walkways and routes", stated culture minister Dario Franceschini, who said the move would be fundamental for cultural development and heritage protection.

Dating to 312 BC, the Via Appia Antica is the first and most important of Roman roads and was known as Regina Viarum or "queen of the roads" by the Romans.

"Regina Viarum unites territories rich in an extraordinary cultural, archaeological and landscape heritage" said Franceschi, who added that the road had all the qualities to become one of the greatest camino routes in Europe.

A total of 74 municipalities, 15 parks, 12 cities, four regions and 25 universities have united to protect, enhance and promote the 'Via Appia. Regina Viarum' project, which was already included in Unesco's tentative list.

In a statement, the culture ministry said the road's "well-preserved infrastructural, archaeological, architectural, funerary and civil testimonies" represent a "cultural heritage of exceptional importance."

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Address Via Appia Antica, Roma RM, Italy

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Italy seeks Unesco World Heritage Status for Appian Way

Via Appia Antica, Roma RM, Italy