Another fantastic day today! Mr. Carroll cooked the most delicious breakfast of sausage, eggs, and breakfast potatoes which made a great start to the day. After our wonderful breakfast, we headed into Murlo for mass. Fortunately for us, there happened to be two baptisms taking place, so we got to enjoy that experience. After mass, we all made plans to spend the rest of the day in Volterra, looking at the towns Etruscan Museum, Roman Theater ruins, and the Etruscan Archaeological Park. The museum was amazing, and did an excellent job highlighting local tomb artifacts, in particular an inscribed bucchero cup that archaeologists at Poggio Civitate used to translate another cup of similar inscription. After the museum we walked around the ruins of the towns old Roman Theater which was interesting in its unusual seats that were built into the side of a hill. From there, we went to the Etruscan Archaeological Park to see the ruins of the Etruscan Acropolis. The lower walls of the buildings were fantastically preserved, and it was fascinating to see the remains of the old city surrounded by current buildings. As an addition, we got to see some examples of Volterra’s famous alabaster sculptures as we walked around the city. Spending the day at the museum was a nice change from our days of backfilling, but I cant wait to get back up to the hill and continue our own excavation tomorrow morning.
Day 10: Volterra
Today started as a late day following the people watching of the pig roast, where I was introduced to, and horrified by, Kanye West videos. We dressed in our Sunday best and trooped off to attend an Italian mass in Vescovado, unfortunately however, the mass for today had been canceled. We decided instead to load into the mighty Scujo for a trip to Volterra, a small town about an hour away. Along the journey the fierce rivalries in the Eni/Agip game, where gas stations named as such are called, reached an all time high with Mr. Lechuga eking out a victory in the end. In between looking for gas stations, we were afforded amazing views of the Tuscan countryside and its rolling hills and winding roads.
Approaching Volterra itself afforded an amazing view of the medieval walls of the town and the towering Medici fortress, which has since been converted into a prison. Volterra has seven gates into it, one of which was named the Porta Etrusco and has stood since around the third century BC. The town is typical of medieval style in its meandering streets, the longest straightway lasted maybe fifty meters. The alleyways and windows of Volterra are littered with arches, some spanning the gap between two buildings, others from one part of the same building to another.
Since we had missed mass in the morning, we decided a visit to the local Duomo was in order. The cathedral of Saint Maria Assunda features murals adorning all the walls and crests along the upper portions of the walls. From the cathedral, we marched off to the Roman Theatre ruins where the seats were clearly visible above the hill and the columns of the stage and backstage area soared in front of a forum like area, where, in classic Roman style, modern art was featured alongside the ruins.