While Terracina is now definitely off the beaten track, it was once directly on it, literally. The Via Appia, ancient Rome’s main communication, commerce, and growth artery, to be precise. With Terracina basically an important ancient… truck stop.
So you hear there are some ruins up in the old town. Fine, worth a walk up the hill overlooking the small port. An ancient arch here, a pair of marble Norman lions there, so far standard operating procedure. Mosey into the main square, cathedral – check, café – yep, town hall – there it is… and then the hair on the back your neck begins to stand up on end.
Something is wrong. Rather, it feels wrong because it is… so right. This is no normal piazza, this is The Piazza.
You are in Terrracina’s original Roman forum, unchanged in 2500 years. Newer buildings built on the old ones perhaps, but the square itself, original flagstones and all, exactly as it always has been. The forum of Rome might be grander but it’s, well, in ruins. This one is still good.
And sure enough there it is. The Via Appia, paved with its original stones as well, in fine condition after only two millennia, thank you very much. And the forum right along the side of it…
…like all self-respecting truck stops.