Its construction was started in 312 BC by the consul Appius Claudius Caecus, restructuring an existing track that connected Rome with the Alban Hills (this road has been supposed to be the one that originally brought Latins from Albalonga to the future capital, at the time of its founding).
The original track of the Appian Way connected Rome (heading in the area of Terme di Caracalla) with Ariccia, Forum Appii, Terracina, Fondi, Formia, Minturnae (Minturno), Sinuessa (Mondragone) and finally Capua.
The road was later extended (190) to Benevento (Beneventum) and Venosa which was founded at that time and populated by 20,000 Roman farmers; in a following epoch it was extended to Taranto (Tarentum) and Brindisi (Brundisium).
The Via Appia Traiana would soon have more linearly connected Benevento with Aecae (Troia), Canusium (Canosa) and Barium (Bari).
Wide parts of the original road have been preserved, and some are now used by cars (for example, in the area of Velletri). Along the part of the road closest to Rome, one can see many tombs and catacombs of Roman and early Christian origin. Also the Church of Domine Quo Vadis? is in the first mile of the road.
The Via Appia was also the site of the first milestones.
A new Appian Way was built in parallel with the old one in 1784.