Roman roads, consular routes of ancient Rome: the Via Salaria.
The ancient Roman salt road.

The via salaria is one of the oldest consular roads, built in several stages by the Romans themselves it goes from the capital to the Adriatic Sea, to this day still in operation it is better known as state road 4–better referred to as ss 4. It is in fact the route between Rome and Rieti.

The curious name goes back to the use of the road made by the Romans, which was mainly to transport salt collected precisely from the ancient salt pans presumably allocated in the Marches.

The Salaria road starts from the Aurelian wall exiting to Porta Salaria, precisely, heads straight for forte antenne to cross the Aniene River and after quite a few kilometers arrive at the present Fidene township.

Originally the road branched between meadows and reclaimed areas, only later remediated, indeed let’s say that the final reclamation occurred about two centuries later. The Via Salaria exiting the outskirts of Rome heads towards Settebagni to eventually take the direction of the Marcigliana Vecchia Estate where there was an ancient Roman settlement better known as Crustumerium. A little further on we begin to see the first mountains; we are at the present Corese Pass in the direction of Fara Sabina.

Here the Salaria divided into two truncated sections that were very important for ancient trade; in fact, one route at the height of Ponte Buita continued to Via Cecilia, which flowed into Atri-the ancient hatria-while the other trunk reached Rieti.

Before Rieti, in fact, two quite distinct trunks can be seen one that turns east past the Apennines in the direction of Sella di Corno to overlook the plain of Amiternum in the vicinity of present-day l’Aquila takes for Passo delle Capannelle and goes on to Teramo, or rather through the town called Pretutii.

The other trunk from Rieti goes up the Velino River for a while to the Baths of Cotilia exploited by the Romans indeed enhanced adequately by a settlement so numerous that a real spa with always hot acidulous and sulfurous thermal waters opened nearby.

Continue on to Antrodoco just below Mount Janus where, again, the Romans built another spa. But the salaria does not stop; it continues northward following the river and crossing gorges and mountains. Here the culture and preparation of the Romans unquestionably comes to the fore. To overcome all these “contingencies,” the engineers of Augustus and Trajan outdid themselves by adopting technical solutions that still amaze us today.

Having passed the mountains, the Via Salaria continues along the Marches plain of the Tronto Valley, one then encounters such well-known and important towns even today as Pescara del Tronto, Acquasanta Terme (also exploited here by the Romans as a spa center because of its albule waters), Lettera, Posta, Favalanciata, Quintodecimo to arrive in Ascoli Piceno. Going further and further we finally meet the sea near Castrum Trentium locality near Porto d’Ascoli in the municipality of San Benedetto del Tronto.

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