At the time of our visit I did not realize that the Tomb of Caecilia Metella was on the Via Appia. According to an ace source at Wikipedia during the early 14th century the Capo Di Bove (Hamlet of the Heads of the Ox and Cow) (the Caetani family) estate had turned itself into a fortified toll booth making the location on the Via Appia into a paying operation. Lord Byron had more things to question and write about Cecilia Metella more in a romantic vein than the actual history would allow. Included here are two verses quoted here.
Rome, the Campagna
Tomb of Cecilia Metella
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
(From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage)
THERE is a stern round tower of other days,
Firm as a fortress, with its fence of stone,
Such as an army’s baffled strength delays,
Standing with half its battlements alone,
And with two thousand years of ivy grown,
The garland of eternity, where wave
The green leaves over all by time o’erthrown;—
What was this tower of strength? within its cave
What treasure lay so locked, so hid?—A woman’s grave.
But who was she, the lady of the dead,
Tombed in a palace? Was she chaste and fair?
Worthy a king’s,—or more,—a Roman’s bed?
What race of chiefs and heroes did she bear?
What daughter of her beauties was the heir?
How lived, how loved, how died she? Was she not
So honored, and conspicuously there,
Where meaner relics must not dare to rot,
Placed to commemorate a more than mortal lot
March 20th, 2016
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