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The next morning Mike and Bone rose in much better shape than when they crashed the night before. It is amazing what a good nights sleep can do. Since so much of the Israel, Jordan, and Egypt played a big role in the Roman Empire many of the early emperors spent a lot of time roaming the area in battles and building. Hadrian and his predecessor/benefactor Trajan in particular both spent a lot time time in the Middle East. So it made sense to see what Publius Aelius Traianus Adrianus Augustus (Hadrian) did in Italy! There is no emperor that is more responsible for more building throughout the empire than Hadrian. One of his pet projects was for his own pad!
So after a European buffet breakfast, Mike and Bone drove the 30 miles east of Rome to Hadrian's hideaway from the Eternal City.
What it looked like in Hadrian's Day (A virtual reconstruction)
Hadrian was a really complex guy. He was emperor from 117 to 138. He was born in Italica (close to modern Santiponce in Spain), a Roman municipium founded by Italian settlers in Hispania Baetica and he came from a branch of the gens Aelia that originated in the Picenean town of Hadria, the Aeli Hadriani (hence his name, kinda like Bone!). His father was of senatorial rank and was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. Hadrian married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career before Trajan became emperor and possibly at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor immediately before his death.
One of the reasons that Hadrian built his Villa was his distaste for the Roman Senate. When Rome's military and Senate approved Hadrian's succession, but four leading senators were unlawfully put to death soon after. They had opposed Hadrian or seemed to threaten his succession, and the Senate held him responsible for their deaths and never forgave him. He earned further disapproval among the elite by abandoning Trajan's expansionist policies and territorial gains in Mesopotamia, Assyria, Armenia, and parts of Dacia. Hadrian preferred to invest in the development of stable, defensible borders and the unification of the empire's disparate peoples. He is known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia.
Hadrian energetically pursued his own Imperial ideals and personal interests. He visited almost every province of the Empire, accompanied by an Imperial retinue of specialists and administrators. He encouraged military preparedness and discipline, and he fostered, designed, or personally subsidized various civil and religious institutions and building projects. In Rome itself, he rebuilt the Pantheon and constructed the vast Temple of Venus and Roma. In Egypt, he may have rebuilt the Serapeum of Alexandria. He was an ardent admirer of Greece and sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire, so he ordered the construction of many opulent temples there. His intense relationship with Greek youth Antinous and the latter's untimely death led Hadrian to establish a widespread cult late in his reign. He suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea.
Hadrian's last years were marred by chronic illness. He saw the Bar Kokhba revolt as the failure of his panhellenic ideal. He executed two more senators for their alleged plots against him, and this provoked further resentment. His marriage to Vibia Sabina had been unhappy and childless. He was in fact gay and founded the city of Antinoöpolis in honor of his gay lover, Antinous when he mysteriously drowned on the Nile.
Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius in 138 and nominated him as a successor, on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus as his own heirs. Hadrian died the same year at Baiae, and Antoninus had him deified, despite opposition from the Senate. Edward Gibbon includes him among the Empire's "Five Good Emperors", a "benevolent dictator"; Hadrian's own Senate found him remote and authoritarian. He has been described as enigmatic and contradictory, with a capacity for both great personal generosity and extreme cruelty and driven by insatiable curiosity, self-conceit, and ambition. Hadrian truly was an enigma.
Now knowing why Hadrian, wanted his own little place away from "town," Mike and Bone headed into an amazing Unesco World Heritage site!
Composed of over 30 buildings, the villa was created with the purpose of being Hadrian's retreat from Rome. Parts of the complex were named after well-known buildings and palaces that the emperor had visited on his travels around the empire.
Villa Adriana Entrance
Walking up, the Boys quickly caught on that Villa Adriana is more of a small city than a country mansion. Because of the Senate and snoopy citizens, Hadrian did not like his palace on the Palatine Hill in Rome, so when not travelling Hadrian preferred to stay in Villa Adriana than in Rome. During the final years of his reign he lived here permanently. So it really required a complex villa that could accommodate his staff, courtiers, guards and slaves. Originally the property of his wife Vibia Sabina, the villa complex covers some 300 acres and includes a variety of buildings many of which have architectural features and decorative sculptures copied from various places in the Mediterranean that Hadrian visited. As Mike and Bone entered the first thing they noticed was the incredible gardening throughout the perimeter.
The View of Tivoli From Villa Adriana
The buildings are constructed in travertine, brick, lime, pozzolana, and tufa. The complex contains over 30 buildings, covering at least a square kilometre (250 acres, an area larger than the city of Pompeii), of which much is still unexcavated. Villa Adriana was built on a plateau, overlooking the ancient city of Tivoli (founded in the 9th century BC) and provides a breath taking view of the town and surrounding area as the Boys tromped up from their car to the entrance.
Pentrating the Poecile!
These days, the entrance to Villa Adriana is the Pocile, a 30ft high wall marked by porticos on both sides which marks a large rectangular area In that area is a man-made lake that the Boys walked by.
Mike and Bone in front of the "Three Exedras" Building
Just inside the Poecile, Mike and Bone began to see what Villa Adriana was really all about starting with the runis of a building with three exedras or small rooms shows the exequsite roman brick and marble work of the day, all done by hand!
The Small Thermae
Back in the day, Hadrian offered visitors a place to refresh themselves with three roman baths that were attached to the Emperors residence. Most roman baths tended to offer calidarium (hot) and frigidarium (cold) bathing areas, and this complex followed that blueprint. After checking it out, Mike and Bone wandered over to the Great Thermae.
The Great Thermae
The Great Thermae is across a courtyard from the Small Thermae was primarily for the public and contained multiple use rooms such as a open-air gym, hot air sauna's, hot and cold bathing areas. The Romans were ingenious in their engineering of hydraulic systems to heat the air for the saunas and baths, using underground piping that is still visible in the ruins. Next, the Boys checked out the not so modest place that Hadrian hung his hat (or crown) and sandals after a hard day, the Imperial Palace !
Hadrian's Imperial Palace!
Hadrian built his Imperial Palace in the very heart of the Villa between the Poecile and the Thermae. Organized into three sections unfortunately only about 1/5 of the Imperial Palace ruins are visible today. Still the Boys could tell it was an amazing edifice! Walking through the open air Piazza d'oro (Golden Square), Mike and Bone were able to walk around the square-shaped atrium framed by the columns! They also noticed that the Palace leveraged the Poecile as one of its walls.
The Palace on the Poecile!
The Boys wandered into the Vestibule in the Palace, where Hadrian would greet his visitors and then they booked into Library!
Checking a book at Hadrian's Library!
The Boys wandered into the Vestibule in the Palace, where Hadrian would greet his visitors and then they booked into Library!
Checking a book at Hadrian's Library!
The Boys wandered into the Vestibule in the Palace, where Hadrian would greet his visitors and then they booked into his Library! Hadrian was a very gregarious emperor and collected books and literature throughout his empire during his travels. Mike and Bone moved on to a very cool named site.
Pizza Men in the Antiquarium of the Canopus!
Mike and Bone stumbled into the area of the Villa, known as the Canopus, named after the Egyptian city and a section of the Nile which leads to the city. Featured in a long, stately reflecting pool representing the Nile. One of Mike and Bones last stops on this Tour, the mighty Nile!
The Stately Statues of the Canopus
The Canopus includes copies of famous sculptures including the caryatids of the Erechtheion, a statue depicting the Egyptian dwarf and fertility god Bes, and a crocodile! (shown above!)
The Stately Statues of the Canopus!
As Mike and Bone wrapped up their tour of Villa Adriana, it was around 1:00 or lunch time! What better thing to sate your mid day hunger for a coupla of pizza men then a coupla of local pizza slices!
Calculating Tivoli Pie!
The Boys ordered salami and cheese pizza slices to their pizza satsification. It was good, not New York slice good. Reasonably fed, they started back to the Eternal City and the eternally mad drivers in the twisty, turning mess they call roads in Italy.
Best thing to clean up a mess is bath, so Mike and Bone headed over to check out Diocletian's baths!
Ah Diocletian! Them Roman’s really liked long names, unlike simple ones like Mike or Bone. Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus or simply Diocletian, was Roman emperor from 284 until his abdication in 305 in the very turbulent 3rd century. He was born Gaius Valerius Diocles to a poor family in the Roman province of Dalmatia (Modern day Croatia). Diocles rose through the ranks of the military early in his career, eventually becoming a cavalry commander for the army of Emperor Carus. After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on a campaign in Persia, Diocles was proclaimed emperor by the troops, taking the more more recognizable name of Diocletian.
Diocletian's reign stabilized the empire and ended the crisis of the Third Century. Diocletian ruled the empire not from Rome, but from his hometown of Dalmatia, having very little love or use for the city of Rome. He really did not like the Senate or the culture of the Eternal City. However, in the middle of his reign he finally showed up in Rome, and as a sign of good faith commissioned the building of the largest bath complex in the Roman Empire, Diolcletian's Baths!
The Baths of Diocletian was built between 298AD and 306AD and are based on the traditional model of a Roman baths complex, the Baths of Diocletian contained a frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (warm room) and caldarium (hot room or steam room) as well as additional large bathing chambers, gymnasiums, and even a library. In their day, the baths were a hugely impressive building project, particularly given how swiftly they were constructed. The majority of the water for the baths was supplied by the Acqua Marcia.
"There ain't no water in this Bath!"
Today the Baths of Diocletian are a part of the Rome National Museum. The museum, which opened in 1889, was built within the Baths of Diocletian and contains several collections from the ancient world. Although the museum contains many interesting exhibits, it gives little insight into the original baths themselves.
After checking out the Baths, Mike and Bone ditched their car at the Hotel and headed to the Roman Pantheon for dinner!
Mike and Bone, Partying the Pantheon!
The Pantheon one of the most iconic Roman buildings was built by the Roman General Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Ceasar Augustus as a celebration of the Battle of Actium. Marcus Agrippa built the Pantheon on his own property in the Campus Martius in 29–19 BC, which included three buildings aligned from south to north: the Baths of Agrippa, the Basilica of Neptune, and the Pantheon.
It was rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian and probably rededicated in 126 AD. Its date of construction is uncertain, because Hadrian chose not to inscribe the new temple but rather to retain the inscription of Agrippa's older temple, which had burned down. It stayed a Temple dedicated to Roman gods until 609 AD when was converted to a Catholic church, the Basilica of St. Mary and the Martyrs.)
Wining and Dining like an Emperor!
Bone knew of a great restaurant in the Pantheon Plaza, where the Boys had some awesome Calamari, pasta, and killed a bottle of red to celebrate a great day, which was topped of with an amazing desert!
... And Gelato of the Roman Gods!
Calling gelato ice cream is to call a Porsche a Chevy Impala. In Roma, gelato must be made by Jupiter for the other gods. Bone knew of a little Sicilian Gelato Shop just off of the Pantheon Plaza where Bone had a pistachio, and Mike pistachio and espresso gelatos and almost had a surreal experience walking towards the Forum in the perfect Roman evening when they came upon a place the Julius Ceasar rued.
"Et tu Brutus?" The place of the Ides of March
The came up to the Curia of Pompey. Back in the day, the Roman Senate typically met in the Forum, during the reign of Julius Ceasar, it had burned down and while it was rebuilt, the Senate met in the Curia of Pompey. A “curia” was a designated structure for meetings of the senate. The Curia of Pompey was located at the entrance to the Theater of Pompey. While the main senate house was being rebuilt, the senate would meet in this smaller building, which is where 60 conspirators in the Roman Senate murdered Gaius Julius Caesar lead by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Brutus, a protége of Ceasar, surprised him with his betrayal, hence, “you too Brutus?” His murder on March 15, became infamous as the Ides of March. After checking it out, Mike and Bone continued towards the Forum and came across the Column of Marcus Aurelis.
The Column of Marcus Aurelis
In the middle of a big automotive rotor, is a Column built to honor the Emperor Marcus Aurelis, that was modeled on Trajan's Column. Because the original dedicatory inscription has been destroyed, it is not known whether it was built during the emperor's reign (on the occasion of the triumph over the Marcomanni, Quadi and Sarmatians in the year 176) or after his death in 180; however, an inscription found in the vicinity attests that the column was completed by 193. It was built near the site that the emperor's cremation occurred. The Boys kept waling toward the Roman Forum, when they got another bit of Julius Ceasar's mark on Rome, Cesar's Forum !
The Ruins of Julius Caesars Forum or Cesar's Forum Ruins
After Julius Ceasar won a decisvied victory over his rival Pompey the Great at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC. A celebration of this victory was constructed at the Forum of Caesar in the form of the Temple of Venus Genetrix: the goddess to which the temple was dedicated was the defender of the Julian clan. The impressive forum stretched from the popular Roman street of Argiletum on the Roman Forum’s south end to the Atrium Libertatis, seat of the censor’s archive. When the forum was completed in 46 BC it was dedicated to Caesar and as part of the celebrations, the man himself funded lavish public games. While the Forum of Caesar was initially meant to expand the Roman Forum, it increasingly became associated with the dictator. Before his assassination, Caesar had the Senate meet him in front of his temple, built very close to the Curia, this was pretty unpopular and led to his assination in the Curia of Pompey. While all cool sites, Bone was trying to find the Temple of Jupiter, which by 10:30 PM, become less important and having a nightcap at a very familar named bar became more important!
Harrys?!? In Rome!?!
Mike and Bone love Harry New York in Paris, so why try Harry's Bar Roma? This Harrys opened in 1918 under the name "Golden Gate". The owner, an American woman who lived in Rome, found her inspiration for the restaurant name from her native town of San Francisco, California. In 1950, a new owner bought the place and decided to renovate the business and change its name from Golden Gate to Harry's Bar Rome, with no relation to the Boys Bar in Paris. This Harrys Roma is famous for being in featured in the film, La Dolce Vita, by Federico Fellini. The drinks were expensive but awesome, the vibe is very different from Harry's New York in Paris, Harrys Roma is very upscale, with great entertainment. However, the Boys had a busy day with an early flight to Tel Aviv and they bid Harrys adieu!
Farewell to the Eternal City!
Driving through the Aurelian Walls let the Boys know their time in the Eternal City was over. They got back to the Hotel and hit the sack around Midnight!
By Roaming through Rome, Mike and Bone were now ready to "rome" through the Middle East!!!