The weather holds and even gets a bit sunny as we make our way to Villa Giulia http://www.villagiulia.beniculturali.it/
It is clear across town so it takes a while. The Villa was once a country home that the state purchased in the 1960’s, as I recall. It is loaded with Etruscan art, including the famous famous reclining couple http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcophagus_of_the_Spouses Take a look at it. It is astounding.
When we were here last it was under renovation. It is from the 6th century BCE. It was found in hundreds of pieces and reconstructed with an epoxy or some such amalgam. Now that we can see the original the differences between the terra cotta and amalgam, but it is just as beautiful. It is similar to the Sarcophagus from Cerveteri .
I enjoyed studying the drawings on the pottery. Many of the pieces discovered in Etruscan areas (which includes Tuscany, a named derived from Etruscan) were Greek imports. In this and other ways the Greeks heavily influenced the Etruscans. When the apply black to the terracotta they make the drawing by removing the black.
After a somewhat disappointing lunch (good pizza but they did a lousy job on the cicorria) we went into San Giovane in Laterano. The building as it stands now is not old, although it sits over the ruins of a fort dating to around the time of Christ. Constantine obtained control over it by marrying his second wife, Faustus and eventually gave it to the Bishop of Rome, who still controls it. Mostly we call him the Pope, il Papa in Italian.
It is another stupendously beautiful basilica. I love the giant door, taken from the Roman senate. Inside it’s marble from floor to ceiling. The artistry is the finest to be had at the time. Take something to wire your jaw shut, otherwise it will droop dangerously.
In the late evening we join M and P for dinner