While driving from Venice to Lake Como, I had to make a long lunchtime stop at a unique spot in all the world. Sirmione is a geological oddity, a very narrow strip of land jutting about two miles out into the ancient Lake Garda.
It's kind of strange to walk for so far in one direction and see water on both sides. Last time that happened, I was on a cruise ship treadmill.
It was rumored to be the location of a villa of Catullus, a close friend of the family of Gaius Julius Caesar, but it was probably a different Roman dignitary who lived here in those days.
It makes military sense that the original villa builders would pick this spot because it is supremely defensible. Well, except from attacks of a flying or swimming enemy. The ancient Romans wouldn't have stood a chance against a nuclear submarine, right?
Here I am standing in the main 'foyer' of the villa. Behind me, as you might guess, is the lake. Apologies for my shoddy state in the photo, but I'd just been driving in Italian traffic half the day when this was taken.
Below, you can see the 'marble beach' view out the 'front door' of 'the' villa... I'll bet they had some great parties out there, even though it would be tough to use a jet ski loaded down with a case of beer because it's so shallow.
The size and scale of the Roman villas makes my house seem so small...
They also had a neat little museum with a diverse collection of implements, mosaics, frescos and such.
I promised some glass and smalti images a few posts back. Here is some off my 'stash' of mixed colors and an Orsoni sample board showing the standard pallette with a pretty large range of value and hue.
And here is the actual result (from my class) of that mosaic from the 6th century. I accidently put up a photo last time of just my empty easel with just the image I was copying in mosaic. Strangely, no one called me on it.
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