Friday, 27 July 2012

More Etruscans

Day two on the trail of the Etruscan dead sees a visit to the Necropolis della Banditaccia, at Cerveteri. It's *another* world heritage listed site (clearly a theme here), and has acres of  tuff built tombs, in two different styles - in circular raised mounds or in long lines of square rooms cut into a mountain edge.  Only some are open for viewing, and less than a third of the actual necropolis is excavated as far as I know.

There is a certain Lara Croft feeling, as you scramble down into the tombs, and push aside plants whilst forging a path between half buried mounds. That said, I bet Lara Croft didn't have to resort to using her asthma inhaler in an attempt to counteract the musty mouldy air within the tombs. Unlike Tarquinia, only one or two have any paintings within them - the majority of the tombs are defined by the carved shapes and the sarcophagi which lie within them. The museum authorities have also set up an interesting 'sound and light' tour, which uses projection, mirrors and theatrical effects to give an idea of what the tomb would have been like 'in life'. It's quite enough to make you jump even when you arent in the tour, to climb down and find a ghostly figure appearing in the cool dimness of the grave!

From Cerveteri, it was a drive back up into Tuscany, passing through a number of hazelnut orchards on the way. It was easy to see why so many people fall in love with Tuscany - the long gentle drive over small country lanes was beautiful.

Fro The evening was spent camped on the edge of Lake Bolsena, with local food cooked at the campsite. Interestingly, it was the first campsite on the entire trip that I've found that required you to buy hot water tokens for the showers - thankfully the cautious approach of buying two tokens per shower was taken, as one certainly didn't last long enough to get shampoo out of long hair!

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