John Izard Middleton: An American Archaeologist in Lazio.
Volume curated by Luca Attenni
The sites of Latium Vetus explored and described by John Izard Middleton evoke itineraries along ancient routes, such as those that from the ford on the Tiber near the Tiber Island reached the most ancient centres of the hinterland, from across the volcanic hill ridge of the Capo di Bove lava flow and to the foot of the Colli Albani. As is well known, the Via Appia, the first census road and the first military road constructed ex novo by the Romans, was built on this same route. The route of the Regina Viarum crosses southern Lazio, encompassing several dozen municipalities and a vast, articulated and diverse heritage of cultural and natural assets. The route is linked to its origin as a road of conquests and to the interaction between the orography of the places and the identification of the shortest possible route.
The relationship of the Via Appia to the landscape of Lazio is remarkably varied along its path. In many stretches, the Appian Way cuts through the features of the territory; in others it follows them, and in still others it constitutes the organising element. There are also cases in which the landscape layout has erased the road itself or superimposed new elements upon it, in harmony or in contrast with the underlying track. The intersection of the route with other landmarks, such as minor roads, canals, rows and hedges, has resulted in a diverse series of more or less complex forms. This richness and variety of the Appian landscape determines its value and potential for cultural and tourist development.
The Appia Antica Archaeological Park has the institutional task of coordinating the valorisation activities of the entire route from Rome to Brindisi. Despite the different stages of development and the different territorial contexts that the ancient road passes through, it is possible to identify a number of common strategic objectives, such as the necessary maintenance and restoration of the route, the improvement and development of the itinerary and related services, and the organisation of management systems aimed at the development of the local cultural and tourist attractions. However, the essential starting point for any valorisation process remains the knowledge of the territory’s cultural and landscape assets, to which this volume makes an exemplary contribution.
Dr. Simone Quilici
Director of the Appia Antica Archaeological Park