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Explore Monuments in Italy | Ariccia

Substructure of the Appia Antica

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Substructure of the Appia Antica

Description

From an archaeological point of view, the most significant contribution from ancient Aricia is the majestic viaduct dating to the Republican age (2nd century BCE), shaped like a large inclined plane. Commonly called "Substructure", the structure, built by the Gracchi brothers perhaps after the Lex Viaria of 123 BCE, is the most important road engineering work built in the section of Latium-Campania of the Appian Way.
Many Latin writers often mention the clivus aricinus or clivus Virbii, identified by Florescu in 1925 precisely with the slope of the substructure. The monument is about 200 metres long, and up to 11.50 metres high (this refers to what today emerges above ground). The walls are made entirely of peperino (lapis albanus, a local volcanic tuff) in opus quadratum of the third period, and is rhythmically interrupted by three arches, the central one being the largest, with 4.68 metres width, and the last one much smaller. The external wall is built with alternate courses of blocks arranged as headers ("diatons") and stretchers ("orthostats"), a rather advanced technique, even though still far from the precision that can be found in the later forum of Augustus. Following a technique introduced at the beginning of the second century BCE, the arches extend internally thus creating barrel vaults, made entirely of perfectly cut square blocks.
(Bibliography: E. Lucidi, 1796; G. R. Florescu, 1925; R. Lefevre, 1977; M. Lilli, 2002; F. Petrucci, 2007; M. Leoni, 2008)