Sunday, September 09, 2007
Benevento, in Campania in southcentral Italy, is probably not on too many Americans' tourist itineraries, which may be a shame if only for the Arch of Trajan that's there (yep that's it above).
Have you seen the Arch of Constantine in Rome, next to the Coliseum? Same thing and pretty darn cool at that. I guess it's also like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, n'est-ce pas?
Benevento also has the remains of a Roman amphitheatre. The city is one of the most ancient in Italy, and was once a Greek settlement. For a time, it was inhabited by I Sanniti, a tribe not unlike the Etruscans that settled Tuscany and other areas of Italy before the Romans.
Benevento reluctantly became a Roman colony in 275 B.C. (after Rome waged three wars with I Sanniti), and the Arch of Trajan was built in honor of the Roman emperor of the same name not long afterward.
I don't have much more to report on Benevento because it was so hot the afternoon we were there that I think Bono himself could have staged a concert and I might have opted to go back to the hotel just the same....maybe, you know, who can say?
In any event, it's fascinating to visit towns that predate the Romans, I guess because it just seems like such an incredibly long time ago. You've always thought I was brilliant and that sentence just sealed it, no?! Sorry, but that's how I feel. I just try to imagine how they lived and what they thought, so very long ago.
In the unlikely event you want to keep track, we visited Benevento on our third day in Italy. The next day we left our new friends in San Marco dei Cavoti to visit Matera, the city of ancient cave-like dwellings in Basilicata, and make our way down to the region of Puglia, where we would join our friends from Florence and spend the rest of the trip (except for a brief but extremely satisfying afternoon in Rome on the last day of our trip).
Please keep coming back! I have more to show and tell.
(In case you don't know, this is a ciambellina, which is the name of this blog and my screen name. Meaning I think of myself as a cute little sugar-covered donut?! No, not at all. It's just my favorite Italian pastry. He he he he. And calling it a donut does not do it justice because it's so light and airy but it does look like a donut so there we are).