The Via Aurelia is one of the first and most famous consular roads. It starts in Rome and stays inland till Cerveteri. From here it the road veers off towards the coast, which it reaches at Santa Marinella. From then on, the Via Aurelia stays close to the coastline, all the way to the French border.
Via Aurelia Rome
History and description
It is not clear when exactly the Via Aurelia was laid, but it is likely that this was in the middle of the 3rd century BC. The person responsible was most likely a member of the Aurelia family.
At the time the road started at the Porta Aurelia. This gate does not exist anymore, but used to be located near the Ponte Sant’Angelo. There was also a second Via Aurelia, called Aurelia Vetus. This street started near the present Porta San Pancrazio. The two streets united near the Via Cannuta.
There were several post stations where travelers could rest along the way where travelers could rest. The main ones in what is now the Lazio region were at Santa Severa (a suburb of Santa Marinella, which at the time was known as Pyrgi), at Civitavecchia (Centumcellae) and near present day Montalto di Castro in a spot called Forum Aurelii.
In a second phase, the road was lengthened to Luni, near the border between Tuscany and Liguria. In 109 BC, the road reached Genova and still later, Arles, in the south of France.
The Via Aurelia today
Most of the Via Aurelia has been widened and is now know as the Superstrada SS1. It has a length of 697 kilometer, which makes it the longest street in Italy, after the Via Adriatica on the opposite coast.