Playing Catch-Up

At this point, I’m roughly in time with what has been going on with my life. Unfortunately, this also means that I have neglected quite a few amazing days and outings. So this post is a sloppy attempt to make up for my oversight.

Image

It’s been quite impossible to keep on track of all the stories I want to tell simply because they keep us ever so busy here at the Centro. I also realize that I’ve never given an explanation of my class time.

Image

My week usually begins with an early breakfast followed by a lecture and a half-day trip. These trips run from 8:30 or 9 to lunchtime:1. After lunch I’ll have a Latin class where we discuss the ridiculously, heart-stoppingly amazing Thyestes. Seriously, if you have not read Seneca’s Thyestes and you are interested in a good time for all involved, get on that. Tuesday is for full-day excursions. These are always really cool because we get to see so much, but also really intense because they shove so much material into one day and the day lasts from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m..

On our first week, we covered Etruscan sites. Below are pictures from my favorite moments through the day:

Image

Cerveteri is the contemporary name for the ancient site of Caere. We got to go into the ancient necropolis where you can see many massive tumuli. Here I am totally respecting the sanctity of a funeral bier with a friend.

Image

Yet another picture of Cerveteri (I was obsessed with this place), the Tomb of the Reliefs! This tomb was quite a bit later than the others and it stood out for its crazy detailed carvings of everyday items. It’s important to know that these tumuli were not built, but rather carved out of the bedrock in the ground! So all the architectural details are merely aesthetic.

Image

Although Etruscan temples were composed of wattle and daub type materials and thus little is left, we saw the IMMENSE podium of the so-called ara della regina. In this picture, I’m standing in one tiny, little corner of the podium.

Image

On our second Tuesday trip, we explored sites in the Alban hill region like Lavinium (which was a real place!)

We spent a lot of time with a 7th century tomb that later ancients knew as the tomb of Aeneas and a nearby site of thirteen altars. Our guide would not stop talking about tufo.

Image

Another high point in the day was the museum at Nemi which used to house the two pleasure boats (I think we all know what that means) of Caligula that Mussolini drained the lake to recover. At the Centro we roll call using the emperors to make sure everyone is on site. Aw, I know, we’re so cute. My emperor is the gratifyingly demented Caligula. So I had a bit of a freak out in this museum. I’d like to think I was overcome by Caligula’s demeanor:

ImageImage

In these wonderfully flattering photos I am enthused both by the size of a nail and by a lead pipe which was stamped with Caligula’s name in the genitive (this is the possessive case-so the pipe says hey I’m Caligula’s!).

We ended this Tuesday with a bit of a ramble up to the sanctuary of Diana, a truly breathtaking site.

Image

This whole region was just desperately beautiful actually.

Image

Although the area would have been quite metropolitan in its hey-day, I love its current look, as if Diana, goddess of the wilds, took back her sanctuary with her own flair.

These are just a few of the remarkable things we’ve seen on these Tuesday trips. We spend the day running about and are, needless to say, tremendously ready for dinner on those nights. And I don’t know whether its actually that much better than the already marvelous food they serve us or whether we’re just that much more eager, but it always seems like Tuesdays are the best for food!

This brings us to Wednesdays. These are generally calm and easy days to give us time to recover. I have a lecture in the morning, my internship for three hours, and another lecture. Thursday is a duplicate of Monday.

Fridays are dedicated to art history site trips. We’ve gone on four thus far and I always enjoy them immensely. Unlike all my other outings for my Ancient City course, which comprise of all 35 people, only 14 people are in Art History so the crowds are much more manageable and you can easily get up close and personal with the art. 

But I think I’ll talk about all the marvelous things we’ve seen in another post because this is getting much too long! Ciao!