Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Saturday Dane went on his qualifying dive trip--on Roman ruins!  Some day he'll look back and realize how lucky he was.  As it is, he's 12 and takes everything in stride.

So we went to an amphitheater--and like everything else, smack in a neighborhood.  Now, we all know Spartacus--Kirk Douglas, complete with dimpled chin.  And we've all seen gladiator movies.  And once again, we had to come to terms with the fact that this wasn't always make believe.  There really was a gladiator named Spartacus, and he really did train and fight in an amphitheater, and it's still there, and we were walking in it.

And again, no rangers, no guards (no guardrails).  In the States, the walls would have been covered with graffiti--for some reason, that doesn't happen here.

The first thing you notice is that it's big.  Really big.  Here's a model in the museum:

And here's the real thing

We seem to have spent a great deal of time on this trip having our minds boggled.  Possibly it's because we live in such a young country (as far as our European culture goes).  Heck--here in Tallahassee, there's a house on the historic register that was built in 1930.  We think something is *really* old if it's 150 years.  But here--we were scrabbling around on ruins that were built over 2,000 years ago.  Without modern building equipment.  The brain cells fry.
And here is Bob in the museum, showing that it is actually possible to go up and touch the artifacts.  No alarms went off.
Tickets to the amphitheater and museum also included entrance to another museum, so once again we went driving down crazy narrow streets, somehow always staying a block or two ahead of the GPS directions (Amanda has a mantra of "catch up, catch up, catch up" when talking to the GPS).  We finally thought we were near, so Bob got out and asked directions of an Italian man walking his small dog.  (Bob amazes me--he never lets the fact that he doesn't know another language stop him from making conversation.  I think he just knows how to listen very well).
So we did find it, and while small, it was quite a good museum that showed the history of the area well before the Romans--back to the Neolithic (300 B.C.)

With our fascination for cemeteries, ossuaries, and other death-related artifacts, we both were interested in the bronze funerary urns.  Apparently the remains were place in the urn, then a bowl placed over to protect it, and finally the whole thing was put in a stone sarcophagus.  One imagines that this was not an everyday burial.

And joy!! As an avid handspinner, I'm always on the lookout for the tools of the trade.  And here they are, spindle whorls from about 750 A.D.  Why don't they ever have replicas of these in the gift shops?

And now we have one day to go in Italy.  Have to admit, we're dragging a bit (and really hitting the popsicles when we get back in the evening) but we're not done yet!

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