Italy

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Bacchus Uncovered: Ancient God of Ecstasy

In 1640, a bronze tablet was discovered during construction work on a palace in Tiriolo, southern Italy. Dating from 186 BC, it records a decree issued by the Roman senate strictly regulating the cult of Bacchus, which it seems had gotten too big for its boots. But despite its ostensible threat to authority, worship of […]

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National Archaeological Museum of Paestum

Fifty years ago, in June 1968, archaeologist Mario Napoli uncovered a beautifully painted tomb in a small necropolis just south of Paestum, the ancient Greek colony Poseidonia in southern Italy. It is known as the Tomb of the Diver thanks to the unique depiction on its plaster and limestone lid of a solitary young man, […]

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Object lesson: the sundial of Marcus Novius Tubula

What is it? This is a Roman stone sundial, a timekeeping device that had become quite common in the Roman world from the 2nd century BC onwards. Carved out of a limestone block (54cm × 35cm × 25cm), the sundial is engraved with 11 hour-lines (demarcating the 12 horae of daylight) intersecting three day-curves (giving […]

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Review: Museum of Ligurian Archaeology

Stretching down from France between the sea and the mountains, the Italian region of Liguria is home to a wide variety of historic sites. At one villa, in Pegli on the outskirts of Genoa, the recently renovated Museum of Ligurian Archaeology explores ancient activity in the area, from the first inhabitants to the Romans. A […]

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Travel: The Arch of Malborghetto, Italy

Why was a victory monument erected 20km from Rome? David J Breeze explores the extraordinary circumstances that led to an unsung triumphal arch at Malborghetto. For the last 30 years I have visited Rome roughly every other year, taking my sons and now my grandchildren to see this marvellous city, usually staying in the comfortable […]

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Travel: Molise, Italy

Searching for Samnites in the ‘Region of Little Cities’   Surprisingly few people have heard of Molise. Yet this is one of the most beautiful and the most historically engaging areas of Italy. Emerging from the road-tunnel that leads into the region, you get the impression you are entering a forgotten world – and in […]

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Travel: Greek Temples of Sicily

Richard Hodges tours the island’s Greek temples. Sicily in February. Cheating winter with the smell of new grass and the first flowers and blossom, I promised two friends that in three days we would chase down the ancient Greeks and their Mediterranean setting. To get into the mood, I watched Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard. Now […]

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Turin’s Egyptian Museum

Nadia Durrani and Andrew Selkirk visit Turin’s transformed Museo Egizio. When Turin’s Egyptian Museum (Museo Egizio) was opened in 1824, the hieroglyphic codecracker Jean-François Champollion declared that now ‘The path to Memphis and Thebes passes through Turin’. Yet, by the turn of the current millennium, few visited: its displays and facilities were outdated and cramped, […]

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Marzamemi Shipwreck: Moving Christian Architecture for Justinian’s Empire

Justin Leidwanger and Sebastiano Tusa dive into a 6th-century puzzle off the coast of Sicily.   In 1959, a local fisherman, searching for cuttlefish in the shallow waters off the coast of south-east Sicily, spotted several carved stone blocks nestled among the rocks, reef, and sand about a kilometre from the coastal port of Marzamemi. […]

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An Etruscan puzzle: Investigating the monumental tomb of Grotte Scalina

This highly unusual Etruscan tomb is linked to the Macedonian court of Alexander the Great and, a millennium later, proved a magnet for medieval pilgrims. But does it have one last secret to reveal? Vincent Jolivet and Edwige Lovergne investigate. Tarquinia, about 100km north of Rome in the Lazio region of Italy, was one of […]

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Travel: Pompeii

Lorenza Bacino explores an ancient city being restored by modern technology, taking a tour through Pompeii in the company of Professor Massimo Osanna, director of the Pompeii Project, and meeting some former inhabitants with forensic archaeologist Estelle Lazer. Walking along the cobbled roads, it is easy to imagine Pompeii as a thriving, bustling town in […]

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Travel: Rome

CWA’s editor-in-chief Andrew Selkirk takes us on a capital tour. I have been to Rome – again! In March 2016, the city was the location for the annual conference of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. The conference was held in one of Italy’s foremost universities, La Sapienza. This is Rome’s oldest – […]

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