Friday was our first field trip with the group. We boarded a nice bus and headed down the windy cliff that is Orvieto, passed a beautiful lake and a few other towns, and an hour or so later ended up at the Necropolis at Tarquinia.
Tarquinia was a huge hub of Etruscan culture; for those of you who don’t know, the Etruscans were like the predecessors of the Romans. I honestly can’t say I knew much about them other than superficial stuff from art history and Western Civ classes. It turns out they were much more than just the people the Romans defeated and then kind of absorbed. In fact, a lot of Roman culture is derived from the Etruscans.
The tombs at Tarquinia are famous for having frescoes that depict banquets, animals and other interesting practices. My art history books all have the Hunting and Fishing tomb, as well as the Tomb of the Lionesses. Wikipedia or Google them, see what comes up. ☺ Our professor/Italian Indiana Jones/Etruscan expert Claudio led us through the important tombs, explaining their importance. I have photos of our trip found on this link.
After exploring the tombs we went to the museum in Tarquinia proper, which is actually about 10 or so minutes away from the acropolis. (Generally acropolises—sorry, I don’t know Greek plurals—aren’t found in the city itself but just outside…) The museum had an amazing collection of burial items, ie. Stuff people were buried with in the tombs we had just been in. Women were often buried with fibulae (pins women used to hold up their dresses) and other objects related to female duties. Men were buried often with helmets or kylices (a type of drinking cup).
A kylix is a wide-brimmed cup with two handles and a stem that men used for drinking during symposia. Apparently sometimes eyes were painted on the bottom of the kylix, so when one was at the bottom of the cup and had to raise the handles all the way to one’s face, the eyes would appear to be the drinker’s eyes and the handles their ears. I thought this was funny, as I’m sure the Etruscans did.
We took lots of photos illegally…There were no signs saying no photos, I took mine without a flash, but still got yelled at once. But check out my album for illegally-taken photos in the museum.
We headed out to lunch and then to the beach. The water was kinda cold at first but a lot of us went all the way in. It was beautiful and the weather was perfect. More updates to come about classes, our field trip to Rome, and the awkwardness that is the Italian male species.