The Queen of Roads, Italy's Appian Way, was built by Appius Claudius in 312 B.C., using slave and convict labor but also the best engineers in Rome. It connected the capitol with Capua and later was extended to Benevento, Taranto and Brindisi, and became the chief highway to Greece and the East. Its 360 miles were used actively for a thousand years until it fell into disrepair; today it is marked by cement blocks, its glorious statuary and grand works in ruins, or stolen, or hidden by the state; and like sinking Venice or Pisa's overly Leaning Tower, it threatens to disappear altogether. You can drive it today, if you're ready to bounce hard for the first few miles, as an asphalt secondary highway called strada statale 7 (state road 7). You may see the homes of Gina Lollobrigida and Marcello Mastroianni, but little will suggest the load of history the road bears, the bloodshed, marching legionnaires, tramping of Apostles Peter and Paul, Hannibal, Charlemagne, Napoleon, and even Mark Antony racing to court Cleopatra. As a popular poster warns tourists: ""See Italy before the Italians Ruin It."" Lots of facts, swift stories.