Monday was our first day of formal classes. 9 am was our Ancient City lecture during which our Italian professor, Massimo Betello, told us all about the history of the Etruscans. Then Prof. Bucher sat down and told us a little bit about the beginning of the Roman Republic. That all lasted until 11 am which gave everyone about 2 hours before lunch to cram for the next class at 2 pm. My afternoon class is Intermediate Greek which is taught by Prof. Amy Russell who is also British. So not only did I have to adjust to listening to a history lecture given by an Italian, I also had to get used to understanding how the British pronounce Ancient Greek. It was a challenging day. We’re starting off in that class reading Xenophon’s Apology of Socrates and so far it’s a little slow. I’m wildly excited about that class though because I love Greek the most. Latin is a different story… For that class we’re reading bits of funerary inscriptions which were written in meter. Confused? Me too… it’s actually a graduate level class.. so there’s that. Monday was busy and stressful. I only left our building once (for a recovery gelato) and was in desperate need of some alone time by the end of the day. Tuesday 100% made up for that though.
Tuesdays are our traveling days. We do it right, traveling on a gigantic bus which, mathematically, should not be able to drive the streets of Rome or any Italian city for that matter. I walked INTO tombs yesterday and the bus ride was the most frightening part by far at times. Although, I still maintain that Vespas are the only way to travel in Italy. I need to get on one of those soon… ANYWAY! First we drove for about an hour and visited the Monterozzo necropolis where we were allowed to see 3 tombs on special permission from the custodi. I should mention that it was unbelievably hot yesterday and, since we were walking through tall, sharp grass, it was recommended that we wear long pants.
The first special permission tomb was the Tomba degli Auguri which I actually didn’t take any pictures in because we had to look through this glass door and that seemed pointless. Then we walked over to the Tomba dei Tori which I also don’t have pictures of for the same reasons. It was hot. I wasn’t thinking.
I did, however, take tons of pictures of the Tomba degli Orci, the Tomb of the Bulls. We were actually allowed to walk down INTO this tomb and stand 6 inches away from the for real Etruscan wall art. Just let that sink if for a second. HECK YES IT’S AWESOME.
We did a bunch of other stuff including lunch and a museum (not in that order, unfortunately) and then got back on the bus for about an hour to get to Certeveri and the Banditaccia necropolis filled with tons and tons of Tumuli and Dado (cube) tombs of the Etruscans. Here’s were the day really got amazing. We were allowed to CLIMB INTO THE TOMBS AND EXPLORE THEM. We crawled through passages, laid down on the funeral beds (creepy and a bad idea since I had dirt all over me afterwards), and generally geeked out. My archaeologist friends especially freaked out about them. We basically ran from tomb to tomb for an hour trying to see it all.
That’s it for my blogging stamina- off to Latin class!