The Road to Rome
The Roman Empire was one of the greatest in history. At its height it stretched from northern Britain to the Persian Gulf, its might epitomised by the effectiveness of its core military unit: the Roman legion. The aqueduct, sanitation, irrigation, medicine, education, wine, public baths – all things the Romans brought to the world (famously highlighted in Monty Python). Yet one of the Roman Empire’s greatest legacies was its roads. From the Firth of Forth in Scotland to inland North Africa remains of these iconic landmarks have survived to this day (in some cases even forming the basis for certain modern roads today). These roads served a crucial purpose for the Roman Empire – one that helps explain not only how the Roman Empire grew so large, but also why it remained so powerful for so long. In this documentary, three historical fiction writers, Ben Kane, Anthony Riches, and Russel Whitfield, walk one of the oldest Roman routes – a 130 mile walk from the amphitheatre in Capua to the Colosseum in the centre of Rome – along the old Roman highway, the Via Appia. Yet this is not to be any normal stroll through Italy; these three writers would do this seven-day trip in Roman armour to raise money for charity. The walk challenged them both mentally and physically, but the pain was worth it as their exploits raised over £25,000 for charities Medecins Sans Frontieres and Combat Stress. The documentary is narrated by Sir Ian McKellen, one of Britain’s greatest actors famed for his roles in a number of award-winning movies including The Lord of the Rings, X-Men and many more.