Good food, great weather, funny tan lines, and mounds of reading: what better way to spend a vacation? (Actually, this may not be a rhetorical question. I think something like "sleep" should be added to the list.)
Almost halfway through my time in Rome, I'm looking forward to a four-day weekend to rest a bit and catch up. Yes, they work us pretty hard here, between bus rides, lots of walking, sites to view, time in the libraries (did I mention mounds of reading?), and just being overwhelmed by the fabric of ancient and modern Rome. The program here emphasizes ancient Roman history and archaeology, so I get to do things every day that are completely new to my little language- and teaching-oriented brain.
So...the following list may not mean much to those who aren't history or Latin geeks, but you can sort of get a feel for the breadth of what we've done and maybe sympathize with why these last three weeks have seemed twice as long as that.
What I've Done on My Summer Vacation in Rome:
Forum Antiquarium (dead people and infamous post holes)
Tiber Island and bridges (and Cloaca Maxima...)
Forum Boarium (that's the old cattle market), including the Round Temple and Temple of Portunus
Palatine (on several levels; it boggles the mind how many layers of Rome are built here)
Capitoline (I saw the wolf! I saw the wolf!...and other stuff; what a great museum)
Top Secret Excavation of the Atrium of Vesta (shh. don't tell)
Forum of Augustus (we got to play in the Temple of Mars Ultor; special permission)
Trajan's Column (climbing to the top; special permission again)
Curia (special permission; aww, what a nice floor)
Villa Giulia (sarcophagi everywhere! and the Apollo of Veii)
Ara Pacis (we broke in illegally)
Basilica Aemilia (broke in illegally again)
Various Temples (beneath current churches)
Theaters of Pompey and Balbus
Umm...The Very Exciting and Old Ancient Walls
Outside of Rome:
Tarquinia (tombs with incredible paintings)
Cerveteri (more tombs; cue Indiana Jones theme)
Ardea (ancient walls...again)
Lavinium (founded by Aeneas? lots of altars, anyway)
Lake Nemi (dare I say breathtaking?)
Tusculum (we lost a few people in an ancient water channel)
Veii (yeah...not much to see)
Pyrgi (nice beach)
Alba Fucens (yeah, you try being thrown cold into an archaeological site autopsy of Roman colonial ruins. see what you come up with)
Praeneste (stairs...stairs...ramp...stairs...wait! a mosaic!)
Horace's Farm (including O Fons Bandusiae [maybe; we didn't sacrifice any goats, however]) and Licenza (my love)
Scaling the side of a VERY LARGE CLIFF to be INSIDE the Aqua Claudia (low ceilings)
Pompei!!!!!!!! (on my own)
We're progressing chronologically, so if your favorite site isn't on here...just wait.
I get a little teary-eyed when I realize I can see Mt. Soracte on a clear day, I can actually find my way among the Roman and Imperial Fora, and I can make geeky jokes about Etruscan culture. (Just kidding. I can't really make jokes.)
Life outside the Academy is pretty great as well. I'm surprised at how easily I can take care of and entertain myself. Rome has some great parks and excellent vistas.
And...the World Cup is on. Boy, is it on.
Forza Italia!--et valete,
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Stacy says spqr