Tag Archives: Glen Thompson

Fastfood along the Appian Way

On a recent trip, following Paul from Shipwreck on Malta to martyrdom in Rome, we stopped at a McDonald’s in Frattocchie—about 10 miles south of Rome. This was not an “I’m hungry for a Big Mac” type of stop, but we wanted to see the Roman road that was discovered when this McDonald’s was being constructed in 2014. We had been alerted to this site by two experts on the Appian Way—Drs. Mark Wilson and Glen Thompson who are writing a book on the subject!

View of the Roman Road beneath the McDonald’s Restaurant in Frattoccie.

A view of the Roman Road that was discovered when a McDonald’s was being constructed in 2014 in the modern town of Frattocchie  (41.46672, 12.99778).

A view looking northwest at a portion of the excavated area that is about 150 ft. long.  The well-preserved roadbed is about 6.9 ft. wide and is constructed mainly of basalt paving stones.  On the left, or the south side is a walkway for pedestrians that is about 2.6 ft. wide.  On the right (north) is a drainage ditch constructed of stone.  In later times, after the road went out of use, people were buried here—note the skeletons in the ditch.

This was a branch road (diverticulum) from the via Appia that led from near the town of Bovillae to the east.  This portion of the road is only about 200 ft. from the Appian Way on which Paul traveled, in custody, to Rome (Acts 28:13-16). The turn from near Bovillae seems to be between Roman Miles XII and XI on the via Appia—that is, about 10 mi. southeast of where the Via Appia ended near the Circus Maximus (now in modern Rome).

A view of the interior of the McDonald’s in Frattocchie. The Roman Road is clearly visible below the glass flooring of the dining section of McDonald’s.

This picture is a screenshot of the interior of McDonald’s at Frattocchie taken from Google Maps.

The entrance to the “drive-through” at the McDonald’s at Frattocchie. This picture is a screenshot of the interior of McDonald’s at Frattocchie taken from Google Maps.

By the way, Dr. Glen Thompson, who has studied all of the Roman Road systems from Puteoli to Rome, will be leading a trip from April 17-30, 2023. His group will travel from Malta to Rome, with an emphasis on what Paul would have seen as he walked along the Appian way—including this site! A descriptive brochure can be found Here.