Showing posts from 2011

Appian Way continued

Another major sight on the Appian Way is the Circus of Maxentius. Maxentius was an emperor for a short time, and had this large circus (i.e. chariot racing track) built for his pleasure, along with a huge palace (of course). It is almost as large as the famous Circus Maximus in Rome. Here's another nice shot along the road.

Here is a shot of me on the top of the Appian Gate.
This is called the Arch of Drusus. It's right next to the Appian Gate.

Appian Way

On Wednesday we went to see the ancient Appian Way, now known as Appia Antica. This road, called the Queen of Roads, was one of the earliest and most strategic of the famous ancient Roman roads. It originally went to Capua, near modern Naples, but was soon taken all the way to Brindisum (modern Brindisi), which is in the heel of 'the boot.' Brindisum was a major port, basically it's where you went to sail to anywhere in the eastern Mediterranean.
Where the Appian Way left the city walls there was a large gate, then known (naturally) as the Appian Gate. It is now known as the San Sebastian gate. Inside the gate is a nice little museum about the walls of the city. I am fascinated by city walls, so of course I was all over this museum. You also get to walk on the walls for a bit, which was really cool.
Ancient Roman law forbid burial inside the city walls. This led to many (wealthy) Romans to construct tombs along the roads leaving the city. One of the best preserved i…

Ostia Antica - More General Pictires

Here's a nice general picture in the good afternoon light.
I just had to put this in here. This is an abandoned Pontiac minivan in an empty lot near the entrance to Ostia Antica. I am sure there is a story here somewhere...
This is a shot of a laundry. The guidebook said that it was basically the best preserved ancient Roman laundry known.
Another afternoon shot. Note the original paving stones in the road.

Ostia Antica - Square of the Guilds

I almost forgot to put pictures of one of my favorite parts of Ostia-the Square of the Guilds/Corporations. This large square off of the theater was originally separated from the theater by a large wall. It started as a place for theater-goers to congregate, but over time took the current form. It was a large square surrounded by a portico. Under the portico, there were individual rooms. Each of these rooms were occupied by a guild or corporation engaged in a certain line of work. The cool thing is that the mosaic in from of each room depicted what the group did. Some have pictures, and some have pictures and words. They advertise wood cutters, shippers, traders in rome, traders in wild animals, etc. It was really interesting. In the middle is a small temple. The god to which this temple was dedicated is unknown, but it is assumed to be one related to commerce.
This is a view of the Square of the Guilds from the theater. This group presumably traded in exotic animals and/or …

Ostia Antica general pictures

This is a area of huge buried jars. This is what the jars look like out of the ground. There's no scale, so it's hard to tell, but these thing are almost 6 feet tall.
This is the Temple of Hercules. That's a statue of him there, and the square thing next to him is an original altar from the temple.
This is a large device for grinding wheat. It was located in a large bakery complex.
Roman baths were heated by pumping hot air through pipes in the walls and floors. If you look carefully you can see some pipes in this wall. I guess I'm a dork because I got excited upon seeing these and took like 10 pictures of these pipes. I'll spare you and just put this one :-).
Just a general street view. One of the reasons I likes Ostia more than Pompeii was that at Ostia you are much more free to just walk around the buildings. There are a lot more you can go into and explore, and in general a lot more freedom of movement around the site.
More awesome mosaics.

Ostia Antica (continued)

If you are going to Rome, I really can't recommend a visit to Ostia enough. It is every bit as good as Pompeii, and in some ways it's even better. Pompeii is, of course, awesome, but Ostia is very different. Pompeii was a wealthy city, while Ostia was much more working class, as it was a port town. Also, you can visit Ostia from Rome using a single 1 euro metro ticket (make sure to also have one for the trip back). It couldn't be easier.
Ostia was so important because the sea-going vessels were too large to travel up the Tiber River, so goods were loaded off the big ships and loaded onto barges for the trip up to Rome. Even after Ostia was replaced by the new ports built under the orders of Claudius and (I think) Trajan, for many years Ostia remained an important administrative center for coordinating the new ports.
If you want to read more about Ostia, please check out this website. It really contains an amazing amount of information

Ostia Antica mosaics

One of the many cool things about Ostia were the many very well preserved mosaics that were there. This one was in a bath near the river port. I can't remember where this one was. There were so many...
Don't bother this guy-he's trying to work out.

This isn't technically a mosaic, but it's still awesome.

Ostia Antica

So on Tuesday we visited Ostia Antica. Ostia (which means 'mouth' in Latin) was the ancient port for the city of Rome. It was later replaced when the city outgrew it, and then the river moved and it was kind of abandoned and forgotten, which means it is in great shape. It's a lot like Pompeii, with very well preserved buildings, etc.
This is a picture of what was the main gate from the river harbor. And the fancy public toilet.
This is the main temple in the forum, called the Capitolium.
This is a nice view of one of the largest buildings.
And another general view.

Monday Shopping

Monday we took it easier. Almost all museums are closed on Monday, so it's a good day to just wander the historic center, which we did. This is the Turtle Fountain in the center of the former Jewish Ghetto area, which was right across the river from our B&B. This is the Arch of Tolomei. The matching building and the arch date to at least 1358. Our B&B was right behind this.
This is the Pantheon, of course. It is one of the best preserved ancient buildings in the world, and is a phenomenal place to visit. We went here several times during our stay.
This is the Column of Marcus Aurelius. Near here is a cigar shop that I tried multiple times to visit, but could never catch open.
Here's an interior shot of the Pantheon.
Well, that's all for now. I am not feeling well (I think I may have caught something on the plane ride back) so I may not post again today. When I am feeling better I'll post about the rest of our trip.

More pictures from Aventine and Baths of Caracalla

Another picture from the swanky Aventine Hill area. On the way back we stopped at this really nice park on the Aventine. The overlook had a very nice view over Rome, particularly the Trastevere area where we were staying. That large dome in the center of the photo is St. Peters.
The caldarium at the Baths of Caracalla.
More views inside the baths.
Yep, all three of these were inside the building.

Appian Way cancelled

So our attempt to go to the Appian Way on Sunday were foiled by the Rome Marathon. Because of this, the whole bus system was shut down for most of the day, at least in the area where we wanted to go. This was, of course, irritating, but if you have ever been to Italy you know that something is always going to go wrong, and you'd better have a plan B.
In our case, the plan B was going to see the Baths of Caracalla. It made sense since we were basically right next to them anyway, having travelled to the Circus Maximus metro stop to catch the bus. The baths were a truly amazing attraction. The scale of these baths was just staggering. It is said that the construction took 9,000 workers five years. More pictures of the baths are below, because I forgot that blogger puts the photos in the wrong order.
After we visited the baths, we walked around the Aventine hill. This was reportedly a working class neighborhood in ancient Rome, but it is very swanky now. On the way up the hi…