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Via Aurelia - a sense of Roman culture

Scenic Route
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  • "Gigante", a stunning sculpture at  Monterosso al Mare.
    / "Gigante", a stunning sculpture at Monterosso al Mare.
    Photo: giomodica, CC BY, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Amphitheater of Arles
    Photo: Rolf Süssbrich, CC BY, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Noli, a precious spot on the Italian coastline
    Photo: Alessandro Vecchi, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Views of Corniglia seaside
    Photo: Martin Abegglen, CC BY-SA,
  • / Ancient road sign at the botanic gardens of Hanbury
    Photo: Tangopaso, CC0, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Riomaggiore seaside
    Photo: Massimilianogalardi, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons
  • / At the center of Manarola
    Photo: Kevin Gabbert, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons
  • / The sunny coast at Vernazza
    Photo: sailko, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Views of Genoa from the port
    Photo: Hedwig Storch, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Sanremo, a popular tourist destination at Italian Riviera
    Photo: Jose Antonio, CC0, Wikimedia Commons
m 800 600 400 200 -200 1000 800 600 400 200 km Corniglia Vernazza Manarola Genua Sanremo Arles Riomaggiore Noli
This historic trade route takes you along the Italian coastline with an irresistible charm: Discover one of the most important roads of the former Roman Empire, spanning from central Italy to Southern France.
Distance 1,005.8 km
15:28 h
3,082 m
3,131 m

Via Aurelia was constructed back in 100 BC in order to connect Rome, the city of the vast Roman Empire, with Pisa in Tuscany.

With a widespread network of paths and streets, Via Aurelia was also connected with other important trade routes such as Via Appia and Via Aemilia Scaura. Nowadays, it leads from the heart of the Roman Empire to Southern France alongside a picturesque coastal route.

This tour is packed with lots of different impressions: Starting from the busy city center of Rome, we get to the sunny coast of Latium heading for North Italy. Stopping by the National Park Cinque Terre and the stunning port cities of Genoa and Sanremo you can get a sense of what living at the Italian coast feels like. Quite different, though, is the small town of Noli. It’s on the official list of Italy’s ”borghi più belli” (Italy’s most beautiful small towns), but abroad it’s still among Italy’s inside tips.

The route leads to the French city of Arles, one of the countrie’s oldest cities. As Friedrich Barbarossa’s former seat of government, Arles has a lot of cultural spots to offer. However, if you feel like making a field trip, you can go for a stroll through the Camargue, a regional park with picturesque lagoons.

Author’s recommendation

You should schedule sufficient time for a stay at Cinque Terre in order to explore the Italian Riviera. Those small fishing towns have still preserved their particular charm and are still far from mass tourism.
Profile picture of Wolfgang Paulus
Wolfgang Paulus
Update: December 04, 2017
Highest point
591 m
Lowest point
1 m
Best time of year

Safety information

Please check road conditions before starting the tour.


Rom, Via Sant'Agatone Papa (59 m)
41.896726, 12.440220
41°53'48.2"N 12°26'24.8"E
33T 287654 4641478


Arles, Boulevard des Lices

Turn-by-turn directions

Starting from Via Sant’Agatone Papa in Rome we head westwards and after about 1 km we get onto Via Aurelia (officially signposted as state road “SS 1“). We follow the road in northwestern direction and reach the coastline on the outskirts of Ladispoli. Still following SS1 we pass by Tarquinia, Venturina Terme and Livorno until we reach Pisa after 300 km. On the outskirts of La Spezia we turn onto the provincial road “SP 1“. At that point there are only about 55 km left until Sestri Levante, the destination of the first stage.

From Sestri Levante we heading north and change onto SS 1 which leads along the coastline. After 8 km we pass by Lavagna and Chiavari, reaching Rapallo after further 15 km. By Recco (9 km) we reach Genoa which is at about 30 km from Recco. We pass by Arenzano and Cogoleto and reach the small town of Noli after further 35 km. At that point, Finale Ligure lies just 12 km ahead of us. We keep on following SS 1 and reach Sanremo after about 80 km. After 25 km, SS 1 leads us straight to the French border. Now we change onto “D 6007“ and pass by Menton, then we change onto the motorway A 8. Crossing La Trinité, we head further into the French heartland. After 20 km we turn southwards onto M 6202. After further 5 km we return to A 8 and follow the motorway for about 30 km until Mandelieu-la-Napoule. Then we change onto the D 6098 which leads us straight onto D 599 which reaches Saint-Raphaël, the second stage, after 20 km approximately.

At Saint-Raphaël we take D N7 northwards and change onto A 8 after nearly 10 km in western direction. After 55 km we pass by Brignones, reach Aix-en-Provence and after further 70 km we change onto the motorway A7 heading north. 12 km ahead, on the outskirts of Salon-de-Provence we change westwards onto A 54 ab and circumnavigate “Parc naturel régional des Alpilles“ on D 569 and D 17. Following D 17 in western direction, we reach our destination Arles after 40 km, passing by Maussane-les-Alpilles and Fontveille.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


 From the bus station Fioranello/appia at the airport of Rome-Ciampino you need no take the bus line 720 to Laurentina until the last station (duration: about 40 min.), then change to line 31 in direction of Clodio until Anastasio li/ richelmy (duration: further 40 min.). Then you have to walk about 200 meters until Via Sant‘Agatone Papa (total duration: 85 minutes).

Getting there

Starting from the airport of Rome-Ciampino, we take Via Appia Nuova (SS 7) and Viale di Porta Ardeatina heading for Piazzale Ostiense, then we continue by Via Anastasio II until Via Sant’Agatone Papa (total duration: about one hour; total length: 20 km approx.).


You’ll find parking lots at the airport and within the cities and small towns along the route.


41.896726, 12.440220
41°53'48.2"N 12°26'24.8"E
33T 287654 4641478
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


For the stopovers along the road you’ll need sturdy shoes with a good profile, warm clothes and rainwear.

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1,005.8 km
15:28 h
3,082 m
3,131 m
Public-transport-friendly Multi-stage route Scenic Cultural/historical interest Botanical highlights Flora and fauna


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Maps and trails
  • 3 Stages
Scenic Route · Italy
From Rome to Sestri Levante
recommended route Difficulty Stage 1
Distance 479.7 km
Duration 6:02 h
Ascent 3,638 m
Descent 3,696 m

This stunning tour takes you along the Italian coastline with its idyllic landscapes such as Cinque Terre.

from Wolfgang Paulus,   Outdooractive Editors
recommended route Difficulty Stage 2
Distance 371.1 km
Duration 5:58 h
Ascent 5,426 m
Descent 5,424 m

The second stage takes you to the most stunning port cities and fishing villages of Western Italy

from Wolfgang Paulus,   Outdooractive Editors
Scenic Route · Var
From Saint-Raphaël to Arles
recommended route Difficulty Stage 3
Distance 207.5 km
Duration 2:05 h
Ascent 1,102 m
Descent 1,117 m

The third/last stage of Via Aurelia is for exploring natural sites and leads you to Arles, one of the oldest French cities.

from Wolfgang Paulus,   Outdooractive Editors
Duration : h
Distance  km
Ascent  m
Descent  m
Highest point  m
Lowest point  m
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