Etruscans and Romans in Tuscany

20140803-164247-60167684.jpgI have been on holiday in Tuscany this summer for two weeks. I had not expected anything except cities full of tourists and impressive museums, wonderful rolling countryside and lazy days by the pool.
But it turns out the Etruscans, and then the Romans, built some things in Tuscany, and they’re still there, despite the guide books’ apparent desire to bury them between campsite descriptions and shopping trips.
20140803-162936-59376842.jpgSo first, in going for a little walk after a lunch of ovolo mushroom salad and wild boar, I found myself looking down on the Roman theatre in Volterra (above) where they had clearly been presenting some sort of spectacle including enormous characters, one of whom you can see to the right in the picture, from the back.
Then we decided to go to Fiesole, just north of Florence, on a Sunday when the weather forecast had predicted thunder and torrential rain. They lie. And so do the writers of the Lonely Planet, who say “avoid Sunday when half of Florence invades”. We were pretty much on our own as we wandered around the Parco Archeologico. It was a real treat, as I have spent many a day traipsing around sites in blazing hot sun (or driving rain) shuffling along behind large crowds, to be in really well-preserved theatre (I tutted quietly at my car’s Sat Nav, which insisted it was an amphitheatre (it’s not).
20140803-164156-60116031.jpgAn aroma of mint pervaded the theatre, and I sat and watched my two daughters playing in the orchestra, listening to the church bells.20140803-170402-61442639.jpgI wandered down to the bath complex (above), complete with hypocaust (see below)
20140803-164537-60337853.jpgWe then sauntered down, past a Roman temple built on top of an Etruscan one (and then collapsed, unfortunately, as you can see below) seeing some nice fluted (but horizontal) column drums, had lunch at the very good Caffè Teatro overlooking the ruins (with columns in its garden) and up to a spectacular view of Florence and then the archeological museum. Photos of all of those can be seen below. A wonderful day, and a nice surprise to see so much and be so undisturbed!
20140803-165105-60665257.jpgAbove: a Roman temple built on top of an Etruscan one (and then collapsed…)
20140803-165212-60732944.jpgAbove: a (horizontal) fluted column drum amongst wild flowers…
20140803-165314-60794099.jpgAbove: the caffè, with columns in the garden…
20140803-165404-60844596.jpgAbove: the spectacular view of Florence, and (below) some pieces from the Museo Archeologico.
20140803-165454-60894174.jpgWow, what a hair-do!
20140803-165455-60895633.jpgIs that a pipe in your pocket, or… hang on, you haven’t got any pockets…


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