During my last morning in Spoleto, Italy, with Umbrian Serenades, I spent a long while at the Museo Archeologico, which is just around the corner from Hotel dei Duchi (where everyone stays of course, the perfect place since it is a short walk from rehearsal space). The odd thing is that I had always wanted to go, but for some reason, never did until this year.
Of course, I had to put the most salacious photo first, right? It made me laugh when I saw it, and inspired the alliterative title. Did the Romans have the puritan values that still course through modern American culture? Nope. Don't think so. Not if all the phallic statuary strewn around the ruins of Pompeii are any indication. But back to Spoleto...
I walked around the corner into the Piazza del Liberta, made sharp left down the hill, and found myself at the entrance to the museum after a few paces. There is a lot to see and take in, the photos on this page only giving one a smattering of the articles on display.
Among the treasures, the most significant is a monument from the sacred forest of Monteluco, which I posted about recently. Of course, did I think to get a picture of it? I am afraid not. To see this most ancient structure, you'll have to see it in person.
The Roman amphitheater lies adjacent to the museum, the latter looking down on it, from which you can obtain a clear view of its restoration, a great many stones having been used in Spoleto's buildings over the ages.
A whole room of funeral monuments is contained within the museum, some of them etched in red and black, which seems quite graphic to us now, and quite eye catching, which must have been the point. They were excavated near San Salvatore, of which I have also written in a previous post.
An arch in the amphitheater, right next to another which has been walled up.
Of course, as I walked through, I had the theme from "I Claudius" on a loop in my head, where everyone is killed off by Lydia who wants to be a goddess. If you haven't seen it, well....you must. It holds up very well. The theme was fitting, I suppose, but in contrast to the music that I had been rehearsing for the past two weeks.
Arch upon arch, and column upon column.
The bowels of the amphitheater...
And a restored arch which frames a modern light.
What I can't show you is the smell and light which strikes one in a particular way when you are standing and walking through the space. Ancient dust within golden light, swirling in the mind, and bringing to mind plays set at dusk, accompanied by a glorious Umbrian sunset.