Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Materan Museuming

Last night (was it only last night?) I visited the archaeology museum in Matera, in Basilicata. You know it as the setting of countless movies with "historical" Near Eastern settings, e.g. the Passion of Mel Gibson, because of its sassi, millenia-old stone dwellings carved directly into the hillside. It was dark when we got there, it having been one of those last-minute trips, but the museum was open for another hour. They didn't have change for a €50 bill, and after I changed it they couldn't work with a ten either, so I ended up with admission gratis. I was the only one there, and a couple of times the lights in the galleries got turned off, only to be turned on again moments later after I shuffled distinctively. A wonderful little museum; they have an Apulo-Corinthian helmet from a site in the region (always nice to see provenience!), as well as numerous Italiote vases (that is, figured vases, like the ubiquitous Attic black- and red-figure, but produced in Italy and, in this reporter's opinion, more fun).

Olive harvest continues. We're down to the three Americans and the local foreman Pasquale, the others having departed for Slovakia this afternoon. They (and their taste for whiskey) will be missed.

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