Thursday, September 29, 2005

Update from Busso

Hard to believe I've been here three weeks already. I have to say, it's still fun, but working on a farm seeing the same two people day in and day out grows tedious from time to time. It's much more fun when we get off the farm. I've been to Larino twice now, about 20 km from the Adriatic shore. A (modern, I'm assuming) Latin inscription proclaims it Larinum, Urbs Princeps Frentanorum ("Larinum, principle city of the Frentani" - one of the Samnite tribes). There's a fair-sized Roman amphitheater preserved, built ex testamento; unfortunately the museum was closed both times I was there. On a pleasant walk through the old town, however, I found about a dozen (genuinely ancient) Latin inscriptions set into the walls of buildings): mostly tombstones, with some honorary inscriptions as well.

I've been as well to Campobasso, the capital of this half of Molise (the other is Isernia, ancient Aesernia). There are supposed to be the remnants of some Samnite walls in town, but I couldn't find them. I did find the Museo Provinciale Sannitico Nuovo (The New Provincial Museum of the Samnite, as the website translates), which looked promising but turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. One helmet from the 10th or 9th c. BCE (a bit early for my tastes) and only a single triple-disc cheekpiece from a 4th c. helmet. About a dozen Latin stones, plus a nice bronze tabula patronatus. They even had a room with materials for children to apparel themselves in Samnite garb; a bit too small for me, I'm afraid. The central mountain in town is topped by a string of old churches and a castle, nothing fancy. On the way back down I stopped into the offices of the Ministero per i beni culturali e archeologici for Molise (basically the Ministry of Archaeology) because I wanted to find out a bit more about the Samnite part of Saepinum. We visited the well-preserved Roman city when I was studying at the Centro in Rome, but not the fortified hilltop of Saepins near-by. I'd hoped for simply a brochure or map or the like, but I ended up chatting with one of the archaeologists whose specialty is the site for around 45 minutes! We're still supposed to visit Saepinum before I leave for the next farm, as well as the Samnite settlement at Monte Vairano, which is just on the other side of our hill here.

I plan to leave this farm on the 10th of October, so if you're thinking of mailing anything, plan accordingly! The address of the next farm (I arrive the 15th of Oct.) is
Dan Diffendale
Az. Agr. Carmela Colavecchio
Contrada Selva, 20
86040 Castropignano (CB)

In other news, I'm considering coming home earlier than planned from my Italian adventuring in order to devote myself to grad school applications for next year. Any thoughts or suggestions on that process or related matters would be much appreciated.

That's all for now... ciao ciao!


Alex said...

ciao! i am all in favor of you coming home early, provided that "home" entails a detour through new york to visit me! :-) i'm glad to hear you're still alive and well, even if farming isnt the most exciting thing... one cool thing going on with me right now is that i am currently published at scholastic news online! (yep, i write for kids) check it out:

all the bios are mine. i'm pretty excited about it. keep updating (and writing letters!) miss you.

dana said...

coming back! well. let me be a resource-- i spent a lot of time & energy applying to grad schools last fall (thirteen-- did i tell you that?), so i'm pretty well-versed in all the ins and outs... of course, i will plug UNC like all hell-- you'll never see a more beautiful place, and its academics rival harvard, michigan, etc.-- BUT the people are mostly not anti-social and neurotic (and how rare is it to find classicists like that?)... the other grad students, that's the reason i chose UNC, remember.

at least visit. there's a couch here with your name on it. :)


Anonymous said...

He should not have written on your couch