18 June 2012

Do As the Romans Do and Walk the Ancient Way

Have you ever taken a stroll down the restored ancient road just outside of Rome called the Appia Antica? It's enchanting. Now that summer is here, the light is bright and clear just as a painter would have it. The towering pines and cypress trees like to cast their long shadows across the rounded, wheel worn stones on the road.

18x30 cm
Oil on Panel

© Kelly Medford, 2012

Standing here all day, one's immagination gets activated and I could almost picture ancient Romans rattling down the road with their carts and loud chatter. Instead, there were a few tourists walking the road and lots of sporty people zipping by and bumping up and down on their mountian bikes. The light couldn't have been better, clear blue skies with the occassional puffy cloud floating by. It was truly this painter's paradise .

Thinking about the history of this road and how many people must have walked here before us today is almost mind boggling. This was one of the first and most important of the ancient Roman roads built and was known as "the queen" of all the roads. This was the longest and straightest road in all of Europe, approximately 365 miles long, which began in Rome and travelled to the southeastern most tip of Italy in what is known today as Brindisi. The road is named after Appius Claudius Caecus who built the first segment of the road in 312 B.C. The 39 miles that are left and restored today are still the longest stretch of straight road in all of Europe.

Oil on Linen Panel

© Kelly Medford, 2012

After finishing this painting in the morning, I just couldn't stop there, I had to keep working to try and capture the best of the day and I wanted to enjoy my stay. Strolling along and eating my panino for lunch, I decided to stop and paint this house.

I seriously debated on whether or not to paint it because it almost seemed too much, too kitch and fairytale like. I was so engaged by the play of light and shadow that I overrode my internal questioning and set up to capture it. 

Now, there is a bit of backstory to houses on this road, since it is a historical park. Many of these houses were built without permission, since it is an archeological area and protected by the region there should be no building here. There has been quite a bit of heated debate over the years, but to me it is a relatively quiet haven, open to be enjoyed by the public. I did find an interesting article about the subject of illegal building from several years ago. You can give it a quick read if it picques your curiosity.


  1. Love the top painting. With the heat here I miss places to walk and green, and can imagine myself strolling there, side-by-side with a centurian or two.

  2. Ha ha, I know, it's easy to picture. I thought it was getting hot here, but there you must be boiling. Just getting out of the center of town here and under a tree makes a huge difference- and much more pleasant to paint.
    Thanks for your comments Sue.

  3. Kelly, I love that you don't paint the traditional tourist sites. I love seeing these lovely spots that most of us would miss, but an "insider" knows about. I love this landscape and the building below (great shadows on that).

  4. Thanks Joan, this is surely one of my favorite places to paint- and hopefully you will come and paint it with me one day as well?

    Rome is full of special places, I feel lucky to have the chance to get to know them.