Ancient Rome Travel Video

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Ancient Rome and Magna Graecia.

This post will house different sections / video clips of this travel video.  As I tease them out of the film, they will appear in no particular order and, hopefully, stand on their own as appealing individual video biography stories.

Our trip of a lifetime was to tour the antiquity of Ancient Rome and Magna Graecia in Southern Italy and Sicily.  We wanted to capture the trip in time and space through an Ancient Rome Travel Video so we could revisit memories we treasure, and share the incredible sights with our friends and family.

My wife and I are history buffs and always wanted to visit the ancient Roman ruins and excavated sites that are scattered along the Italian peninsula and Sicily.  So, our goal for this trip was to have a lot of fun, while hugging some good-looking ancient stones along the way.

We started out from Naples, Florida with one small roller aboard each, carefully packed for the trip through Italy.  We also carried backpacks with cameras and other video biography equipment.

Trials and tribulations and incredible wonders were in store for us as we set out to visit as many of the lesser known excavations as we could.  The places few have heard of: The amphitheater in Capua that is almost as large as the Coliseum in Rome, the eerie, towering 2,500-year-old temples in Paestum, and many other ancient cities overlooking the deep blue Mediterranean Sea.

Around the ancient ruins we also enjoyed glorious Positano on the Amalfi coast, eating sweet “dolci” at night after simple meals with fabulous Italian wine.

The Ancient Rome travel video from the trip lets me relish again, and again, the memories of the time alone with my wife, in a land of ancient magnificence.

This was a trip of a life time… although I hope to be able to tell you about the next one soon.

Rome Without Tourists.

The Birds View
A lot has changed since our last visit to Rome 10 years ago: much more was dug-out and the number of tourists increased exponentially.  I would like to introduce you to some of my favorite places in Rome.  We will do it from an area with a birds-view of the ancient city.  And to get there we start in the Forum.

When one can see the Forum Romanum with fewer people, very early in the morning – it is magical.  It induces you with the feeling of eternity and classical elegance.  Walking in the Forum towards Colisseum we pass the Roman Senate building.  Then, half way through, we turn right and walk south up one of the seven Roman hills. We end up on the Palatine Hill, where well-to-do folks in Republican times built their houses and where later the dreaded emperors had their homes.

Rome’s Subura
Rome’s Subura was a very poor neighborhood in ancient times.  Historians tell us that Caesar was born in Subura.  40 years ago it was a sleepy place with mom and pop grocery stores and small hostels.  Over the years Subura was converted into a desired swanky place to live for young well-to-do Romans, but in many ways it remains the same.  If one would like to get a feeling for Rome’s old neighborhoods – a hotel in Subura with its rooftop breakfast patios is a very good place to take in the smell and taste of old and new Rome.

Eating in Trastevere
In the past, when Romans went out to eat they often dined at a restaurant in Trastevere across the Tiber.  Now-a-days, with the increase in the number of tourist, the food is not as diverse, but one can still find a nice modest restaurant with excellent seafood, vegetables, pasta and a good glass of house vino.

Below the Arena.

Our last site around Pozzuoli is the Flavian Amphitheater, the third largest after Coliseum and Capua’s. They are all elegant structures, which leave lasting impressions of beauty and function.
What is perhaps less known or described are the areas below the Amphitheater arena. It was amazing to see the well organized supporting corridors and areas, and to walk through those hallways, which are actually two or three levels down below. Some of these areas contained hoisting apparatus that could raise different stage structures into the arena openings to the amazement of the spectators.

Vesuvius’ Buried Towns.

In 79 AD the author and naturalist Pliny the Elder was in charge of the Roman fleet at the naval base in Misenum. When Vesuvius erupted, he went by ship toward the coast to help rescue people, but ended up reaching point to the south of the mountain where he died. His nephew, Pliny the Younger, later wrote an account of the eruption as he probably watched it from this hill.
Today is hazy, but on a clear day one would see the extent of the disaster from this point.
There, across the two Gulfs, between the coast and the volcano, is the famous archeological site of Pompeii.

Old and New Music in Taormina, Sicily.

The town is so pleasant in its location and spirit, we are forgetting about tourist crowds.

We walk along its old narrow streets, eat dolchi – Italian sweets at the street cafes and listen to some traditional Sicilian music.

A little further on the same street we also stumble on some nicely performed jazz pieces.

Positano and Amalfi Coast – The Beauty Among Ancient Ruins

Positano cannot be described in words.  It is a tiny gem of houses and many, many steps doting a hill overlooking a small bay on the Amalfi coast.

To reach our hotel we are going down a long series of steep steps.

Finally we get to our room and our breath stops in our throats.  We have a corner room with a 270-degree-view large patio overlooking the town, the bay and the beach.  It is stunning!

We are spending three glorious days in Positano marching up and down a lot of stairs.

Although the town is full of restaurants overlooking the bay, we think our patio has a better view.  What can be more romantic than sitting on a terrace, just the two of us, with a glass of good wine, with darkness descending, lights from the boats and the Amalfi coastline below lighting up, tinkling, and the sea mirroring the stars above?

It is our second day in Positano and we are taking a bus over the Cornish to the neighboring town of Amalfi.  The view is literally breathtaking.  So much so, that my wife cannot look down after a couple of rough turns.

The town of Amalfi has a larger harbor and is similar, but we think, not as beautiful, as Positano.

Because of my wife’s experience on the bus, going back, we are taking the sea ferry.

Greek Temples of Paestum

South of the Amalfi coast lies the haunting archaeological site of Paestum, where three Greek temples stand in the middle of the countryside.  It has some of the best temple remains in Magna Graecia.

A post on the web says that Paestum is a ‘must’ on any classical tour of Italy, which is so true!

We took a ferry from Positano to Salerno, walked to the railroad station, placed our luggage into storage and hopped on the train to Paestum.

From the local railroad stop we are walking through the farm fields and horse pastures…  and then we see the temples…

Valley of the Temples

Sicily’s most famous Greek site is the “Valley of the Temples” in Agrigento.  The Valley of the Temples is a misnomer – it is actually a walled-in hilltop of the ancient city of Agrigentum.

Greek Theaters of Ancient Rome

There are many Ancient Greek theaters still standing around the Mediterranean.  We visited several of them in Italy.  These two thousand year old structures still impress and delight today with their beautiful architecture and excellent acoustics.

Roman Acoustics

We marveled at the acoustics of the Roman amphitheaters we visited.  These large circular-shaped structures had acoustics tuned for very large audiences, sometimes as much as 60,000 – 80,000.  Romans modeled their amphitheaters from the Greeks who had designed them mainly for theatrical purposes, where the sound coming from below could be heard almost as loudly and clearly in the top seats, as a spectator would in the front row. We tried it out for ourselves and in spite of the bustling city sounds surrounding us, we found that speech was still heard over 80 yards away.

Neapolitan Challenge

When we arrived to Naples we had a small challenge.  Since we elected not to stay at high-end hotels, and only had two small suitcases and back-packs with equipment, after a week in Italy, we had to find a laundry shop.

A taxi driver named Salvatore was helping us in this endeavor.

We did not succeed.  It turns out, that in Naples one can easily find dry cleaning service, but not a laundry service.  The washing, one can only do at the self-service coin-operated shops.

Through this interesting experience we befriended Salvatore.  So, when the next day we had to visit five archeological sites, we asked Salvatore to take us there.