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Tuesday 8 September

And I did get up yesterday at 4 — to move the alarm to 6 then ditto at 6, and finally woke up at 7:45; so chose instead of Rome to have a large breakfast and go to Spoleto to see some of the things I missed last year.

12:33 train, brief wait at Foligno, and Spoleto at 13:21 on time. Weather close to perfect.

Stopped at the Ponte Sanguinario since it was on the way, but my two goals were the amphitheatre and S. Pietro; the first was a failure: the amphitheatre — or what's left of it (the 12c church of S. Gregorio Minore or "de Griptis" and a 14c monastery occupy the cavea & arena), viz. about 2 or 3 cunei of the ambulacrum, are firmly locked up inside a military barracks. Ring the bell and a woman's voice will tell you it's in restauro, but of course this is nonsense; noone's restoring anything — I did my usual inquiries — and it's been closed for many, many years. (At the Piazza della Torre dell' Olioº it took some doing to convince three old ladies denizens of a 17c building ex-barracks also, that there was an amphitheater — so that's alive and well here too. . .)

[and if you need it, here's help in using the map,
including my own symbols & added information.]

Other walks in the area, see Walking in Umbria.

Anyway, up the hill to the said old ladies, at the gate just after the Torre and before the piazza in fact — curious inscription in which Spoleto takes credit for staving off Hannibal fresh from his victory at Tuoro; little church of S. Giovanni e Paolo — frescoes inside, key during normal business hours at the Museum of Modern Art in the via Mazzini, vicolo III°; pleasant church façade of S. Nicolò da Bari, early 14c: bits of cloister, hexagonal or octagonal pillars of alternating pink and white stone slices, with a large crane and construction or wrecking going on right next to it, everything very closed.

Theatre open this time, did a thorough visit. Much of the supporting arches on the E side are still in place; lots of lapidary débris piled around outside the outer wall; was able to get good pictures of the orchestra pavement, and some slight bits of colored marble (paonazzetto? I never get them straight) remain of the facing of thebalteus.


[image ALT: A square terracotta plaque about 50 cm on a side, very roughly textured yet covered with a rather regular inscription. It is the 'B' inscription of the Lex Spoletina, in the museum of the Roman theatre in Spoleto.]

The "B" inscription, CIL I2.2872, found in 1913. It is very similar to the "A" inscription, CIL I2.366 = XI.4766, found earlier, and it may well be a fake. (If you need a completely readable large scan of this, just let me know.)

Museum occupies a few rooms of the 2‑story cloister to the side of the theatre. Surprised to see the Lex Spoletina inscription nicely displayed; no sign not to photograph, so got recto and verso of the "A" stone, agreed to be real, and recto only of the "B", said by some to be a fake (FWIW, my gut concurring — it just doesn't feel right), before a docent came in and told me no photographs — except of a fresco of no great interest — the sign for which is a little 4ʺ typed card at the exit from the museum . . . and which in fact says "rivolgersi alla Direzione" but the Direzione was on vacation — I was lucky, tho': the other inscriptions were of very minor interest. Well I do as I'm told, but it's the type of thing che mi fa arrabbiare — serving very little purpose, all the less so that upon paying my entrance fee the first thing I asked was to buy a copy of any guide or catalog yet there was none. Another case of archeology types and their private preserves — restricting access to information for the sheer sake of restriction — "A" found in 1879, "B" in 1913. . . .

Otherwise, the sparse museum — two rooms of maybe 20 inscriptions and a coupla heads; upstairs, one room with mostly potsherds — attractively and informatively presented. ₤4000 for the theatre and the museum together is priced about right for the casual tourist.

From there to S. Pietro: a cluttered façade of very good Romanesque sculpture, something of the effect of ND‑la‑Grande in Poitiers but not as old and three times the size; over and next to the arched entrance to some attached buildings, now pleasant houses (cats, canaries, geraniums), bits and pieces of Roman stone, including 2 inscriptions, one easy, one not (and fragmentary). Inside the church, completely redone in 1699, the walls and pillars covered in purple hangings: rather pleasant if of no interest. I stayed maybe an hour, shooting about a roll and a half of film and finished just as the sky moved to overcast and 5:30 P.M.

Train at 6:08, walked quickly from S. Pietro to the station, quite prepared — I don't have a watch — to miss the train and sit around the station for the next; got there with 45 seconds to spare, train just pulling in. . . Home at 7:55, rather heavy dinner of spaghetti, some fresh tomatoes — seem to have lost the garlic during the move — and to bed and to sleep before 10.


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Page updated: 23 Aug 12