Sept. 26th: Populonia, Ruselle, Castiglione della Pescaia

​Hello all blog readers and blog skimmers! Buona sera and salvete from sunny, seaside Castiglione della Pescaia, our accommodations for this evening. Today was a more relaxed day, and still as interesting as every day has been.

​We began our day on the bus, leaving the city of Volterra in the middle of Tuscany for the western coast of Italy, at the ancient Etruscan site of Populonia. Specifically, we were interested in the tombs that form a necropolis for the city nearby. When Carlo, our lively bus driver got us to Populonia, we ran into some trouble. Due to a union meeting at the museum for the necropolis, we had kill an hour of time before we could see the tomb complex. We seized the moment, and headed to the nearby beach, where we frolicked and skipped stones in the Mediterranean. After drying off, we made our way to the necropolis, where a kind museum employee showed us around the site. We saw many tumuli, mound-shaped tombs of differing sizes, tombs made to look like houses, and one bone house made to look like a temple. Very cool stuff for us Classics nerds.

​Having departed, we headed towards the Roman colony (and former Etruscan city) of Rusella. The city used to be completely surrounded by a large wall made in a style called “Cyclopean masonry,” which means that the stones are large, rough, and fitted together to form a thick, heavy wall. Not the most refined of masonry, but for a wall, it gets the job done. We tramped up the main East-West road of the Roman city, the decumanus, and entered the forum space. Many of the building foundations were very well preserved, retaining about a foot of wall, and in many cases the mosaics that covered the floors of the houses that bordered the forum. There were also the remnants of a basilica, a large building used for law courts and shops, with a large tribunal area in the back, and a huge amphitheatre at the highest point of the city. The acoustics were so good in the theatre that every word we spoke echoed around even the shell of the old building.

​Now thoroughly exhausted, we were all too glad to reach our hotel in Castiglione della Pescaia, have a good Italian meal of pasta and chicken, and turn in for the night.

 

Valete, noble readers!K

-Thomas Rover

 

Photos (courtesy of Liz):

Beach time!
 
While some FSPers frolicked in the water…
 
Others sun bathed on land.
 
Finding the perfect stone to skip is also an essential beach activity.
 
Crawling into the tombs at Populonia was a little problematic for the taller members of our group.
 
Although confined behind the fence, Lucas gives this tomb his approval.
 
Cyclopean masonry! Look at those rocks!
 

Checkin' out mosaics at Ruselle.

 

Watching the sunset at Castiglione della Pescaia = the best way to end an action-packed day

 

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