Tivoli, Cortona, and Veii

Well I know it is Wednesday but here is my weekend post. Sorry Joey, I will try to give an update on the trench tomorrow.

After dropping the boys and Joey off at the airport, I headed off for my own archaeological avventura. I tried to go to the port of Trajan but found out I needed to make a reservation for it so instead I headed to Tivoli to see Hadrian’s villa. It is a site I have read a lot about and studied for my master’s exams but never saw. It is an amazing site and one that I recommend if you have the time to go and see. It was awesome to see the Canopus and the Piazza d’Oro (so different from the slides I memorized them from). I had the park pretty much to myself- there were some tour groups but they stuck to the main monuments and I walked all over the place. After that I went into Tivoli proper and tried to follow signs for the temple of Hercules but kept missing it (although now looking at a map I realized I was so close). I did get to see the temple of Vesta in town though which was also another temple I studied for the masters.

This weekend I had the rental car still from the high school program so I decided to take full advantage of it and visit some sites that are harder to get to by train. Saturday I and several of the staff members took a trip to Cortona (made famous by Under the Tuscan Sun but also an Etruscan settlement). I wanted to see the museum there and try and find some of the sites. We were successful with both. The museum is amazing and well organized- Although a little dark is some rooms. The English panels are just as good as the Italian ones and the whole place is laid out to help tell the history of the Etruscans. Also there are an amazing amount of inscriptions on display besides the famous Tabula Cortonensis which was also amazing to see in person. After a nice and relaxed lunch in Trattoria Etrusca we walked around the city for a while and had some gelato. Then we took off to find some archaeological sites. We were able to see the Sodo Tumuli and its altar. We also found a Roman villa near by and waded into the waters of Lake Trasimene where Hannibal crushed another Roman army in 217 BCE.

The next day we packed a few more staff members into the van and headed for Veii the famous rival of Rome during her early years. Not much is left of the city (Rome did a good job) and we had some trouble finding it. We made it with a little off roading and got to walk among the remains of another Roman villa (these things are everywhere), the Portonaccio  Temple , and the outside of the tomb of the ducks. It is a shame that the park is really poorly signed and the trails are not maintained there are a lot of cool sites here but it took a lot of looking around, remembering old diagrams from scholarly books, and just plan old bushwacking to make it to some of the places.

Well that is all for the sites today. Dinner is soon and I still have trench work to take care of. I will do my best to let you all know what is happening on site tomorrow. Ciao!


About handyatmurlo

I am a Latin teacher at Regis Jesuit High School. I earned my MA at CU Boulder and my BA at UMass Amherst. I have spent my summers working in Italy as an archaeologist at three different sites. One I have worked at for 10 years at Poggio Civitate at Vescovado di Murlo. I have worked at the Villa of Maxentius in Rome for 2 years, before the project ended. I also spent 2 summers at the FSU excavations in Cosa.
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