ROME — In recent weeks it emerged that during road construction to widen the Via Collatina, ancient polygon-shaped basalt road blocks were uncovered that once united Collatia and Gabi.
During the imperial period, these two centers were incorporated into Rome. During the period of the Roman kings and the republican period these two towns were popular and splendid centers.
The Roman historian Titus Livius recorded that it was here that Sextius, son of the Roman King Tarquinus the Superb offended Lucretia, wife of Collatino a lord of that city.
Two great historians Diogenes of Halicarnassus and Strabo maintained that the greatness of Rome lay in three great public works; roads, aqueducts and the sewage system..
If the Greeks neglected these three the Romans, who as far as roads were concerned, considered three principles laid down by Vitruvius; strength, utility and beauty.
This last quality apparently has little weight these days given the never ending quest to cover the ancient roads in concrete (and not only), which are some of the works most resistant to the passage of time.
Italy, in fact, has been fighting against savage urbanization, illegal building and destruction of the country’s historical and environmental continuity.
History too often falls into oblivion and one forgets the immense complex of roads built by the Romans that represent a work of extraordinary engineering.
With an ancient road network that totaled 100,000 kilometers (62,137 miles), it is perhaps the longest monument handed down to us, and the greatest Roman contribution to the development of civilization.
A road that still lives, can be easily followed and allows us to study the various layers of culture they have constantly born witness to.
A road is a resource that should unite rather than divide people in the name of the power of cement.