Early start today (I was the last one on the bus) so that we could head into the mountains. We started with a visit to Horace’s villa, although we were informed that the current research indicates it was probably not Horace’s villa (well, there is no proof; there is a gap in the evidence for the Augustan era in which he lived, so it could still theoretically be the house Maecenas gave him (it reverted to imperial control after his death)). The best part was getting to see the fountain up the hill—I will call it the Fons Bandusiae that Horace speaks of in poem 3.13. I even filled up my water bottle! Even if this is not the exact villa, this is at least the area in which Horace lived. We made a brief stop at a porchetta stand to grab some yummy panini de porchetta to supplement lunch.
We then drove further into the mountains to Alba Fucens, a Roman colony set up in the late 4th century to keep a watch on the recently-conquered Aequi. Apparently a number of important people came through here at various points, including Marc Antony (whose legions deserted him) and Macro (whom Caligula forced to commit suicide). We picnicked outside of an old Temple to Apollo (converted to a church, of course) with a lovely view of the Apennines. Then began the autoptic exercise (quite possibly my least favorite part of this course). We broke into groups and examined the ruins of Alba Fucens to try to identify the uses of buildings and when/how they were made, and then went over our “findings” with the larger group. Still, cool to see a Roman colony in the mountains.
I think this evening will be low-key and a chance to catch up on some sleep. Tomorrow I am visiting the Galleria Borghese and going to the Euro final in the Circus Maximus (can’t wait for that one!)