Via Valeria

The Via Valeria was an ancient Roman road of Italy, the continuation north-eastwards of the Via Tiburtina. It probably owed its origin to Marcus Valerius Messalla, censor in 154 BC. It ran first up the Anio valley past Varia, and then, abandoning it at the 36th mile, where the Via Sublacensis diverged, ascended to Carsoli, and then again to the lofty pass of Monte Bove, whence it descended again to the valley in Roman times occupied by the Lake Fucino. It is doubtful whether Via Valeria ran farther than the eastern point of the territory of the Marsi at Cerfennia, to the northeast of Lake Fucino, before the time of Claudius. Strabo states that in his day it went as far as Corfinium, and this important place must have been in some way accessible from Rome, but probably, beyond Cerfennia, only by a track.

The difficult route from Cerfennia to the valley of the Aternus, a drop of nearly 300 m, involving too the crossing of the main ridge of the Apennines by the modern Forca Caruso was, however, probably not made into a highroad until Claudius' reign: one of his milestones (Corp. Inscr. Lat. IX. 5973) states that in 48-49 AD, he made the Via Claudia Valeria from Cerfennia to the mouth of the Aternus (the site of modern Pescara). He also constructed a road, the Via Claudia Nova, connecting the Via Salaria, which it left at Foruli (modern Civitatomassa, near Amiternum) with the Via Valeria near the modern Popoli. This road was continued south (we do not know by whom or when) to Isernia. From Popoli the road followed the valley of the Aternus to its mouth, and there joined the coast-road at Pescara. The modern railway from Rome to Castellammare Adriatico follows closely the line of the Via Valeria. The lost tomb of Perseus, last king of Macedon, was discovered by televised excavations in the Via Valeria in 2005.

A second Via Valeria, the Via Valeria of Sicily, connected Messina and Siracusa. Hardly widened or improved until the nineteenth century, it remained the backbone of the Ionian drainage basin of Sicily, favoring the development of cities along it: Messina, Taormina, Giardini-Naxos, Giarre, Acireale, Catania, Augusta, Siracusa. Today, Route 114 follows it in part.

Read more about Via Valeria:  Roman Bridges