Posts Tagged ‘roman ruins’

Five things you might not know about Capri

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Capri, one of the most idyllic places in Italy, is a must-see on any traveler’s list. Here’s five things you might not know about this Island in the Bay of Naples

The Italian island of Capri was once overrun by pirates. Today, it's a popular relaxation spot.

The Italian island of Capri was once overrun by pirates and is home to stunning examples of ancient Roman architecture.

  1. There’s no stress on the second syllable of the word “Capri.” It should be pronounced ka-pri, not keh-PRI, like the pants.
  2. Capri has been a resort since Roman times, but evidence of human habitation as far back as the Neolithic Age exists on the Island.
  3. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Capri was besieged by pirates and then occupied by the Turks, French, and British, who used the island as a naval base.
  4. Rose O’Neill, commercial illustrator and creator of the Kewpie doll, owned a villa on Capri.
  5. Villa Jovis, once the residence of  Roman Emperor Tiberius (ruled AD 27 – 37), spans 1.7 acres and contains an intricately engineered system of raincatchers which ensured a supply of fresh water for the inhabitants.

Packed your bags yet? Visit Capri and travel the Amalfi Coast on our In the Shadow of Vesuvius  tour.

Today’s question: What’s your favorite island and why?

For the Best Greek and Roman Ruins, See…Turkey??

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

With a Ph.D. in Islamic history from the University of Pennsylvania, Smithsonian Study Leader Gary Leiser has taught several courses in Middle Eastern history and published nine books, most on the early history of the Turks in the Middle East. For more on Gary and traveling with him, click here.

It is sometimes said that Turkey has better Greek ruins than Greece and better Roman ruins than Italy. Certainly, the classical ruins of Turkey rank among the best in the Mediterranean world. One site that has always intrigued me is ancient Pergamon (or Pergamum) in the northwest corner of Turkey. Ephesus, to the south, may get more tourist attention today than Pergamon because of the extent of its ruins, but its setting cannot compare to that of Pergamon. The acropolis of Pergamon perches atop a cone-shaped mountain that looms perhaps a thousand feet over the modern city of Bergama. It is approached by a narrow road that reaches the base of the upper walls. After a short but steep walk, you find yourself transported back to the late Roman Empire. Pergamon was the most powerful city in the Roman province of Asia before the rise of Ephesus in the first century A.D.

A sketch of Ancient Pergamum.

A sketch of Ancient Pergamon.