We have realised that in seeking a route other than the Autostrada del Sole north from Rome to Vasanello, and then heading for Le Marche, we are in fact heading out on the Via Salaria, 2200 years old.
These days great road and rail tunnels have opened the way north through the Appenines between Florence and Bologna. Historically the great road north was via this road to Rimini and beyond to the Po Valley and away to Byzantium, Constantinople. Caesar came this way heading for Rome in the civil war. In the years of Rome's decline this was called the Ravenna Road, when Ravenna was the capital of the Western Empire.
I didn't know any of this until I read the wikipedia article, I'll stop pretending I knew this and let you read the wikipedia article.
So we now, Helen's initiative, have decided we should try to find our way north and east via the Via Flaminia, hunting the ruins, driving the remnants.