THE VIA AURELIA. When I began this blog, I hadn’t realized how interested I am in Roman roads (here are posts on Roman roads). This Smithsonian article deals with the efforts of Bruno Tassan to preserve what remains of a major Roman road in Southern France, connecting Nice and Marseille, the Via Aurelia. Here is Tassan’s web site for the via Aurelia. I was fascinated by the attempts to locate parts of the road in private yards and gardens. The bits of road have entered the landscape. Just as the Romans standardized their water pipes, they standardized their roads and their chariots. Their roads had a fifteen foot width, wide enough for two chariots to pass. The grooves in the surviving parts of the via Aurelia reflect the standardized width of a chariot—4.5 feet between the wheels. I posted here about the Peutinger map which shows Roman roads and rest stops. There were three classes of rest stops–basic, moderate and luxury. the pictograph for a luxury rest stop showed “a rectangular villa with a pool in the middle.”

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