13 August, 2009

Roman Holiday

Yesterday afternoon we wandered around in Desenzano, a charming little port town just south of here. The buildings are colorful and picturesque and many interesting sculptures dot the tree-lined streets.

After lunch we visited the remains of an authentic Roman villa that had been unearthed on the edge of town. Many of the floors were intact and were decorated with beautiful mosaics. There was also a small museum on the grounds which displayed various statues, household implements and coins that had been found on site-- it was a fascinating way to get a feel for how the Romans lived in this area 2,000 years ago!

And I was thinking yesterday evening what a gift it is that we can expose S and B to these kinds of treasures! In the past couple of years they've visited the Colosseum and other well-preserved Roman amphitheatres in Pula (Croatia), Nimes and Verona. They've seen the Maison Carrée, have explored the exquisite Roman baths and gardens in Nimes and have walked across (and later canoed underneath) the Pont du Gard in the Provence.

I keep thinking what a difference all of this would have made for me as I was struggling to stay awake during dry lectures in Latin class back in middle school!

(Not that they can fully appreciate these opportunities yet. For S and B these antiquities are just distractions from their relentless search for the perfect ice cream, which is, of course, a noble and worthy persuit in the eyes of young boys.)

I'm starting to feel a bit like a stalker of the Holy Roman Empire. Either these guys really were everywhere or we just happen to prefer the same type of vacation spots... ;-)

The best is yet to come, however. Verona holds an annual opera festival every August, in which famous operas are performed at the Roman amphitheater! Thanks to Roman ingenuity the acoustics are so exceptional that no microphones are necessary in spite of the size of the arena.

M and I have scored tickets for next week to take the boys to see Aida, and I've heard that the performance is spectacular and even includes horses that thunder around on stage!



Goofball said...

Gosh Betsy, can you please stop stalking those poor Romans. I don't want to hear any complaints ;)

Expats Again said...

We love to visit port towns, sit in an outdoor cafe and enjoy the ambiance. Your photo has inspired me to put yet another port town on our list. Thanks!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Wow. I'm just really, insanely jealous. But I like you anyway.

I think. ;-)

Betsy said...