Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily (June, 2013)

January 8, 2014

The remains of this 4th century CE villa near Piazza Armerina are one of the great treasures of Sicily and indeed the world.

The famous 'bikini girls' mosaic

The famous ‘bikini girls’ mosaic

The decision to replace the villa’s old see-through roofs with opaque ones was an excellent one. It is now much easier to see (and photograph) the mosaics.

The Palestrite mosaic before the roof replacement

The Palestrite mosaic before the roof replacement (2005)

Detail of Palestrite mosaic after roof replacement

Detail of Palestrite mosaic after roof replacement

The whole room

The whole room

Read the rest of this entry »


Morgantina and Aidone, Sicily (June, 2013)

January 4, 2014

On this very cold weekend in the Midwest I thought I’d post some photos from the hottest place I visited in Sicily last spring (Morgantina) and the delightful little town (Aidone) whose archaeological museum houses some of its remains.

Morgantina is southeast of Enna and a short drive from the Villa Romana del Casale near Piazza Armerina (I’ll post some photos of its fantastic mosaics soon). Although this time the site felt like the inside of an oven, on cooler days it’s well worth a visit. (But bring water just in case.) The city dates back to the late Bronze Age but moved to its current location in the 5th century BCE. Changing hands several times in the many wars of the following centuries, the town lasted until the first century CE. Excavations have been going on for quite a while now so there’s plenty to see.

Morgantina (061913)

Morgantina with Etna barely visible in the distance.

The North Baths at Morgantina

The North Baths at Morgantina

Read the rest of this entry »


Herculaneum (June, 2013)

August 21, 2013

Many people prefer Herculaneum to Pompeii. Perhaps this is because it is smaller and more manageable? There are some nice new facilities since last I visited but it seemed like fewer buildings were open than usual… Still, there was plenty to see.

Herculaneum (070213)

Mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite

Herculaneum (070213)

Seat of the Augustales

Read the rest of this entry »


Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (Naples Archaeological Museum)

August 10, 2013

This is my favorite museum in Italy. Like the Capitoline and Palatine Museums in Rome, the Naples Archaeological Museum has seen significant improvements in recent years. In particular, the lighting seemed better in many galleries. If you’re visiting the Naples area and have any interest in antiquity, you need to go here. A trip to Pompeii or Herculaneum is not really complete if you don’t also see the artifacts taken from those sites. Considering the current inaccessibility of vast swathes of Pompeii (see forthcoming post), I’d suggest visiting the museum instead of the site if you have a limited amount of time. Also, if you’re visiting Rome, be aware that the museum is easily reachable from Rome by train for a day trip. These photos don’t even begin to do justice to the breadth and quality of the collection:

Europa fresco, Casa di Giasone, Pompeii, MAN Naples, INV 111475 (060213)

Europa about to depart for Crete

Musicians mosaic, MAN Naples (060213)

Street musicians, late Republican mosaic by Dioscorides

Read the rest of this entry »


The Palatine Museum (June, 2013)

August 9, 2013

They’ve considerably improved the lighting in much of the Palatine Museum since the last time I was there.

Apollo fresco, Palatine Museum (060113)

Apollo

Asklepios, Palatine Museum INV 1115, ca150 CE (060113)

Asklepios

Read the rest of this entry »


The Capitoline Museums

August 8, 2013

There have been a bunch of improvements to the Capitoline Museums since I was last there (seven years ago?): new rooms, better lighting, a great view of the Republican forum…

Wall view, Capitoline Museums SQUARE

Many, many inscriptions…

Wolf and twins, Capitoline Museums (060113)

The famous wolf and twins

Stele of Anicetus, NCE109

Funeral stele for a gladiator

Sarcophagus with hunt scenes, MC Inv 822 (maybe) (060113)

Detail of a sarcophagus

Read the rest of this entry »


Ara Pacis Museum

August 7, 2013

Here’s the first of what will be many posts from my trip to Italy this summer.

First stop was the Ara Pacis Museum:

Entrance to Ara Pacis Museum

Entrance to Ara Pacis Museum

Ara Pacis Museum (053113)

Vestals at a banquet (?)

Ara Pacis Museum (053113)

The so-called Tellus panel of the Ara Pacis

Ara Pacis Museum (053113)

Procession relief from the Ara Pacis

Relief of a temple from the Ara Pacis Museum

Relief of a temple from the Ara Pacis Museum

Ara Pacis Museum (053113)

View of the Ara Pacis

Ara Pacis Museum (053113)

Another view of the Ara Pacis