Friday, May 06, 2005

Wipe your feet, drink some wine

Was Romulus man or myth? The story goes that Rome was founded around 750 BC by Romulus, a homicidal, wolf-raised man who killed his twin brother Remus and then laid the foundations for the city on the banks of the Tevere. As founding stories go, it has everything. But could it be true? Italian archeaologist Andrea Carandini says Certamente!

Not far out of town is another archeaological wonder, Ostia Antica. It was Rome's port city, heaving with a population of 50,000 back in its prime in the second century. Amazingly, much of the city is still intact -- and yet it attracts, by my obersvation, only the intrepid visitors. Ostia Antica (note: modern Ostia is the Coney Island of the Med, minus the Cyclone and hotdogs) was the original party town. Along the main boulevard are bath houses, taverns and a gym. Further on, is a magnificent amphitheater, then apartment buildings, followed by more baths and, yep, more taverns. When you walk into Fortunatus' tavern, you are greeted by a serious message inscribed into the tile floor. Vinum e cratera quod sitis bibe..."Since you are thirsty, drink wine from the crater" (a type of goblet).

Don't mind if I do.

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