Category: Italy

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French wine: 2,500-year-old vintage

Wine was introduced to France from Italy, with the first Gaulish vintages produced in c.500 BC, according to newly-published chemical analysis.  Archaeological work at Lattara, a port in southern France dated to c.525-475 BC, uncovered a number of imported Etruscan amphorae stylistically linked to Cisra in central Italy. Chemical analysis of residues found within these […]

Richard Hodges travels to: Venice

Modern Italy has its problems, but it also has truly exceptional assets. Its new high-speed trains rate pretty highly on any list of new resources, while of those from the past, Venice – it goes without saying – is truly fuori dal mondo: out of this world. From Rome to Venice on the frecciarossa – […]

1395

Road to success: Roman globalisation

In 312 BC, Appius Claudius set out to build a road from Rome to the south of Italy. So began the extensive road network that, argues Ray Laurence, paved the way for commercial domination of the Roman world.

1366

Richard Hodges travels to: Amelia, Italy

Rome is empty of tourists in late January; Umbria is even emptier, yet on most days there is sunshine for nine hours. Middle Italy’s landscapes are brought into a blissful clarity by the low angle of the sun, which makes a trip outside the Eternal City utterly bewitching. Little over an hour north of Rome […]

1357

Doing up Pompeii

The EU have launched a £36.1m project to help conserve the spectacular Roman ruins at Pompeii. Approved by the European Commission in 2012, the funding aims to consolidate ancient structures, improve drainage, and assist the training of staff. Special measures will also be taken to protect the initiative from the influence of organised crime – […]

1337

A Colourful Colosseum?

Conservation work on the Colosseum’s only remaining covered passageway has revealed fragments of colourful frescoes and graffiti from the Roman period. Previously hidden beneath layers of calcified rock and dirt, the red, black, and blue scribbles suggest that the white and grey marble surfaces of the 1st-century AD amphitheatre might once have been much more […]

Roman Mediterranean: Stamping Ground

As a schoolboy, Philip Kenrick was hooked by the fine red Samian ware he found amongst the coarse indigenous pottery at a site on the Watling Street in England. Otherwise known as terra sigillata, its more handsome precursor comes from Italy, and was traded throughout the Roman world. After enjoying great popularity, it suddenly fell from grace. Why?

1311

A tall tale

A 16- to 20-year-old Roman from the 3rd century AD represents the first complete skeleton of a person with gigantism known from Antiquity, according to a paper in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. At 2m (6ft 7in), he would have towered over contemporaries in imperial Rome, when men averaged around 1.7m (5ft 7in) […]

1307

Harbouring secrets

A team of French and Italian archaeologists have announced the discovery of the lost harbour of Ostia, once ancient Rome’s primary seaport. The commercial centre was founded beside the Tiber in c.620 BC to give Rome an outlet to the sea and guard against enemy fleets entering the river. According to contemporary writers such as […]

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