Honey Bees and Ancient Latrines in Ostia

Liz Walsh ’14 has shared occasional journal entries with us from Italy, one of a group of students dropping us notes from around the world as they participate in Ripon College’s Liberal Arts In Focus program this summer. Liz, who just graduated as a double-major in biology and English with an educational studies minor, will be submitting journal entries as part of her class “Old Italy, New Italy” co-taught by professor Diane Mockridge and president Zach Messitte.

Journal 6/5/14

We went to Ostia today and it was incredible. It was a city of ruins and it was in fabulous condition. We were able to explore the labyrinthine ruins and look at all the cool things in them (although I’m sure some of the inhabitants would have thought that our choice of “cool” things was weird—we were chiefly fascinated with their latrine system because it was very similar to ours up to 100 years ago and marble…) There were also some sculptures and mosaics that were beautiful.

The landscape was really colorful—we’ve been so lucky to have the weather that we have had! The blue sky, vibrant green of the grass and trees, red of the poppies, and lavender of the wildflowers was really beautiful. The ruins were all just kind of spread out on this fairy-tale landscape. I felt like I was in the secret garden sometimes when I could see a lot of green and flowers behind a window hole, doorway, or around a corner. It made me wish that I could paint because everything there deserves to be painted.

My favorite ruin of Ostia was the amphitheatre and the cool human-sized pipes. The entire city had sunk into the ground over time (it was built around the 7th century BCE!), so some things were much shorter than they originally had been. We had a really good time walking around in a group and exploring. I also saw Italian honey bees!

This morning we were at Cinecitta, the Italian version of Hollywood. I think that I had been looking forward to that tour the least, but I had a really good time and learned a lot. We were able to see a lot of cool sets, some of which were from movies that I’ve seen (Gangs of New York, A Dangerous Beauty, etc.)!

I had a fabulous day and I can’t wait for tomorrow — Venice!

Italy In Focus Photo Album

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