October 1, 2012

Ancient Road #3 Carsulae Italy

This past June I had the great good fortune to go to Italy and stay and work at La Romita-http://www.laromita.org/.  La Romita is (as one friend said after I told her about my experience there ) a camp for artists. Ah yes it is, and in a beautiful setting above the city of Terni in the "green heart of Italy".  Even though it was unusually dry and there were fires later in the summer it is still lush by my western eyes. It is the landlocked part of Italy and perhaps as I was raised in a landlocked state, i.e., Kansas, I felt a sense of recognition.
We 13 artists stayed comfortably in what had once been a small monastery and for the past 40 years has been a respite for artists and artists groups. There is a comfortable studio in which to work (a reconverted chapel) . After a morning breakfast equipped with a map, laden down with our painting supplies, and filled with a lecture from the night before of where we were going. We were driven to some near or far hilltop town. Some you would recognize such as Assisi.
Or some would be new to you/ us, unless your specialty is Italian hill towns. We would tumble out after traveling windy roads and find a place to perch and paint. Then we were returned to La Romita for a delightful lunch or we stayed out all day in places like Orvieto or Perugia.
One such blissful day we were driven to the ancient Roman town of Carsulae. This town was built on the Via Flaminia an original road of the Roman Empire which connected Rome to the Adriatic Sea. Theroad was built in 220-219 BC. The city gained prominence because of its beautiful site. Tacitus and Pliny the Younger both spoke of the beauty of the place. The road was also one on which you could travel to the springs of nearby San Gemini ( we painted San Gemini our first painting day). Carsulae was abandoned because of an earthquake and I also read because of robberies which eventually occurred scaring off merchants from the Via Flaminia.

Today you can see beautifully askew ruins. They include a theatre and amphitheatre and of course the Via Flaminia. I took refuge under some low hanging branches and sat down on what must have once been a busy thoroughfare and made a plein aire piece of the view.

 Did I mention it was warm, hot, one needed shade. I looked across the hills which had given Carsulae its original beauty and had to agree with Pliny. This is a site of great beauty even today.  Over my right shoulder I could follow the Via Flaminia and see the arch of Traiano (so named because silver coins from the time of the Emperor Trajan 98-117 were found there). This arch is the remainder of three and was originally covered in marble.

So this past year I have walked 3 much used roads of the past. Each one brings to my mind the daily lives of the people who lived along these paths. When I see the arch of
San Damianos (or Traiano) I wonder at the skill of the arch builders. I think also of the skill of the cliff dwellers of Canyon de Chelly and the piled stones creating the ball courts of Mixtel Viejo. Three places of overlapping times going about thier daily business of survival.

1 comment:

An Eye for Detail said...

Hi Carole: I've been searching for a way to reply to your comment you left, but do you realize you have a "no reply" in your comments on Blogger? So one cannot reply to any comment you leave! And I cannot find any email address anywhere on your site!
Thanks for commenting, and following, my blog! And your trip to Italy looks absolutely stunning: what an opportunity indeed!
Have a lovely day!


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