Friday, May 27, 2011


Venice/Florence/Rome:  Ten days in Italy at the end of the year, after school ended.  Wonderful trip.  I cannot wait to go back to Italy, especially Rome.  We saw the Rialto Markets in Venice, and walked all over the place.  I geeked out again because an episode of Doctor Who took place in Venice, so I checked out the water.  I saw what seemed like thousands of Venetian masks, all of which were gorgeous, and if I had money, I would’ve brought more back.  We did some more walking around in Florence.  We did see Pisa, and the archaeology museum in Florence, as well as the Duomo.  We were in Florence during Easter so we watched the Eastern celebrations.  That was incredible.  Some of the participants were dressed in full armor and full costume.  They have a burning cart, which is loaded with fireworks and they set it off.  When we were in Rome, we did what most tourists do when in Rome...Coliseum, Forum, Trajan's Column and Markets, Palatine Museum, Capitoline Museum, Pantheon, the Circus Maximus, and I managed to get to Pompeii and Ostia.  By the way, if you want your picture taken with a re-enactor, be ready for fork out 5 Euros.  There was no way I was doing that when I could take their picture from a distance, so I got out of that one.  We didn't see the Ara Pacis, Hadrian's Villa, the Baths of Diocletion, the Baths of Caracalla, the Catacombs, and a few other things, but it was still awesome.  I can assure you that I am going back. 


Pompeii and Ostia:  I loved Pompeii and Ostia.  We took a 2-3 hour train ride from Rome to Naples, and then a mini-train, called Circumvesuviana, to Pompeii.  Circumvesuviana would also have taken us to Boscoreale, an ancient Roman villa.  My original plan for Pompeii was to visit Aemilius Celer’s house, as we learned about him in one of my first classes at University.  I had a map, I was ready, we got there, and the street was blocked off.  We couldn’t get to it.  My professor thought that that was the area that had seen many collapsed walls and such, and a tour guide said that there were “better things to see,” which is true but I wanted to see that house!  Oh well.  We got to see the House of the Faun, the Villa of the Mysteries, the Amphitheater, granaries, and just being in Pompeii was a complete blast (no pun intended, ahem, Vesuvius ;}).  The preservation in Pompeii is fantastic, unlike Ostia.   Ostia, the ancient port of Rome, is about 20 miles from the city on the Metro.  It has its own Metro stop, and the ancient site is about a block from the station.  The preservation at Ostia was not good.  Walls were still there, but they were crumbling.  It was sad to see.  I, being an archaeologist, investigated everything, including areas that were probably off limits.  I charged through weeds and tall grass and didn’t get attacked by insects or people.  The mosaics were gorgeous, and we saw the Basilica of Maxentius.    

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