Pretty full morning today! We started on the Palatine by walking through the Imperial Palaces of Nero & the Flavians (the Domus Tiberiana, parts of the Domus Aurea, the Domus Transitoria, and Domitian’s Palace). We walked through the cryptoporticus of Nero & the Aula Regia (where the emperor would have sat on a throne and held court), then by the octagonal peristyle (the blue flowers represent where there would have been water) and large triclinium outfitted with heating (via hypocaust). Inside the Palatine Museum, we saw some nice paintings and floor work in opus sectile (cut glass pieces, rather than tesserae for mosaics). Back outside, we saw Domitian’s hippodrome/garden (note the fountains that would have been like the turning posts in the Circus Maximus) and the emperor’s private quarters (which would have had a special passage to the imperial box in the Circus).
Next we walked down the Clivus Palatinus, stopping to look at what is possibly the rotating dining room mentioned by Suetonius, and headed for the Arch of Titus. It was great to see this in person (and I am looking forward to seeing the Arch of Trajan in Beneventum, which I wrote a graduate paper about)—much of what we see is actually an 1822 reconstruction in travertine, but viewers can tell what is original marble. We then headed into the Forum on the Via Sacra and talked about the Basilica Julia, the Temple of the Divine Julius Caesar, the Arch of Augustus (no longer there), and the Temple of Castor & Pollux (under which there was probably a dentist’s office, based on finds of many teeth). We went inside the Curia Julia, then got a quick look at the Rostra and the Basilica Aemilia.
Our final stop of the day was the Colosseum, where we got a rather cursory overview of the building’s makeup before lunch. Mike, Nicole, and I found a neat little grocer on Via Cavour with pizza & sandwiches—I had a caprese sandwich and orange soda, then a chocolate cookie of sorts. We then headed back to the Colosseum (our tesserae get us in for free, so we did a self-guided tour; unfortunately, you cannot go on the reconstructed arena floor without being on a very expensive guided tour, and the underground passages are not open at all). Still very cool to finally see this one!
This evening we had a lecture with Bernard Frischer from UVA on the Digital Hadrian’s Villa Project (really also on memory and the Rome Reborn project)—very interesting and gave me some ideas for use in class (including some fun ideas for problem-based learning). For dinner, we had lettuce/apple salad and beets, bean/pasta/tomato soup, straccetti (arugula, beef, and cheese), and eclairs. Yummy!