Appia Road Segment 19
From BENEVENTO (Beneventum) to MIRABELLA PASS (Aeclanum)
From this segment onwards, it is almost impossible to recognise the ancient route: perhaps due to slow abandonment after the construction of the Trajanic variant (see Note) or due to maintenance difficulties or faults in construction technique.
Benevento (**), the ancient Maleventum renamed Beneventum, after the victory of the Romans over the Samnites (*), preserves ancient monuments from the Imperial age (*) such as the arch of Trajan, the theatre, the arch of the Sacrament and from the medieval age (*) such as the walls and the Church of Santa Sofia.
The route after Benevento (Beneventum) touches the locality of San Cumano probably corresponding to the ancient statio Nuceriola.
From San Cumano to Ponte Rotto it is impossible to identify the route in the Benevento countryside.
Certainly, the collapsed bridge over the river Calore at Ponte Rotto bears witness to the passage of the ancient Appia road, probably where the statio Ad Calorem stood.
The bridge over the river Calore is a challenging structure with numerous arches necessary not only to cross the river, but also its valley.
The first bridge was built in Adrian time (see G02 – Galliazzo n.217) but was probably destroyed by a flood.
The second bridge was built in Trajan’s time a short distance away (see G02 – Galliazzo n.216) and one arch and many pillars remain.
This work is perhaps the last visible evidence of Roman intervention in the area along the oldest route of the Appia road from Benevento to Brindisi.
It would seem that for the Benevento-Brindisi section completed in 191 BC, the Roman builders were content to re-use pre-existing trunks of local roads at no expense!
Having crossed the valley, the Appia road, visible for a good stretch, heads towards the Mirabella Pass (443 m), site of the statio Aeclanum (**)
|(*) See :||Imperial age|
|(**)||Benevento (Beneventum) is well worth a visit,|
|Aeclanum deserves a visit.|
(Note) on the Trajanic variant
Under Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD) the road network of the Roman Empire underwent a major renovation.
From Benevento (Beneventum) to Brindisi (Brundisium) the route, already in existence at the time of the poet Horace Flaccus (65-8 BC), was restructured, (see a04 – Arnaldi and d09 – Desy) and which crossed the Apennine mountains following the valley of the river Miscano instead of that of the Ufita.
This route, equipped with new bridges and good foundations, made it possible to shorten the journey from Rome (Urbe) to Brindisi (Brundisium) by at least a day.
This variant is commonly referred to as the Appia-traiana road.