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Where ARE We? Kent & Anna retire and travel the world

Urbisaglia Lower

ITALY | Wednesday, 23 July 2014 | Views [89]

After travelling from Ireland to Pisa, Italy, we made it across country to our new home in Sant'Angelo in Pontano. We have a fantastic apartment in a converted monastery. It didn't take long to call it home. Sant'Angelo is on top of a hill and our apartment is at the top end of Sant'Angelo. So, if we walk down to the village, then we have a long walk back to the apartment. THEN we have to climb 4 flights of stairs to our apartment. We're going to be getting some exercise while we're here!

We took a couple of days to settle in. Groceries, rest, coffee. Then we were ready to go explore our new home. It started as another cloudy day, but the sun started peeking through around mid-morning. We worked and played on the computers for a while, then decided to head out and enjoy the day. We made the short 20-minute drive to the Roman ruins at Urbs Salvia (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1915980-d3217465-Reviews-Parco_Archeologico_di_Urbs_Salvia-Urbisaglia_Province_of_Macerata_Marche.html). There are two sites, one in the hilltop town of Urbisaglia (most of the towns in the province of Marche are perched on top of hills or ridges!) and the other down on the plains below the town. We stopped at the lower site and visited the amphitheater and sanctuary complex. We bought a combined ticket that allowed us to see both sites from a nice man who gave us a tour of the sanctuary after we wandered about the amphitheater. The theater is the best preserved site of its kind in the Marche region with most of the lower seating and arena still intact. The vaulted entrances for the spectators, the grand entrances for the gladiators, the small exits for removing wounded/dead participants, and water inlets/outlets all are still in good repair (albeit with a few additions of modern structural support to make it safe). The theater is still in use for summer productions – sadly we just missed the last one.

On the way to the ruins of the sanctuary complex, we passed a epigraph (funeral marker) by the side of the road. Our guide explained that Romans believed that graves should be near roadways so that future generations could remember the dead. The remains of the city walls were standing for the most part, although some were leaning a bit. The sanctuary ruins are still being studied – the most recent excavations began in the 1970s when a Belgian archaeologist found a piece of stone that she was able to trace back to the 3rd century AD. The piece had most of the hallmark on it and they were able to find our which kiln it came from and when. They have uncovered about 4 percent of the structures. Even with that small amount, there are still vivid frescoes that are superbly preserved. The structures were buried in an earthquake (they could tell that since the columns were all collapsed inward) and the walls with the frescoes were mostly intact (although some of the frescoes had been cracked). The frescoes were used to tell a story about Roman conquests with lions chasing and devouring deer and more passive animals. We toured the complex with two couples, a husband and wife from Austrian and two women from Italy. Neither couple had much English, but our guide was fairly fluent in German and English. He admitted that his German was not that good, mostly since one of his girlfriends had been German, but had left him before he could master the language. We thoroughly enjoyed our 2-hour stroll around this site and are eagerly anticipating our visit to the upper site in the town. We enjoyed a picnic lunch (sandwiches and chips) in the shade after the tour, then drove into Macerata (the provincial capital).

 

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