david morton's

Summer 2008                                   Newsletter Eight

In this issue:
  • Brian Smallshaw's photo-travelogue: a fresh look at Italy
  • Preview of new discoveries: the Vezza River basin
  • New website highlights Via Appia
  • Norman Roberson: appreciation of a genuine Romaphile

> Brian's photo-travelogue

This spring I had the good fortune to be joined for two weeks by photographer Brian Smallshaw, who hails from Saltspring Island, British Columbia. Although Brian has logged years of travel photography in Asia, this was his first trip to Italy. His photographs reflect fresh insights inspired by a spontaneous enthusiasm for the qualities that make Italy so special.

A small sample of his work is offered here for your enjoyment. More of his photos from Italy can be seen here.


I am also hugely indebted to Brian for the ongoing design of my website and newsletter. His web design services are illustrated at www.pixelmap.ca

> Sneak preview: the Vezza River basin

Streams rushing down the northern slopes of the Cimini Mountains have cut scenic gorges emptying into the Vezza River, which in turn flows east to the Tiber. Since ancient times the Vezza basin has served as an east-west corridor: at least two Roman roads made use of it, running from the settlement of Ferentum to the Via Amerina. Today, charming medieval hill towns are linked by forest paths that descend into fern-lined canyons, passing Roman and Etruscan tombs, eerie cliff dwellings, and the old ruined church of San Nicolao. Two Renaissance jewels as well: the lovely Villa Lante and the curious Park of the Monsters at Bomarzo.

We’ll depart from the tranquil Hermitage of Sant’Antonio in the wooded hills above Viterbo. This walk is still “under construction”: stay tuned for more details.


Roman tomb

Roman altar

Villa Lante

> New website highlights Via Appia, "Queen
of Roads"

Giovanni Antamoro has published a beautiful website documenting Roman artifacts along the 356 mile course of the Via Appia, from Rome to the Adriatic port of Brindisi. Paving stones, bridges, tombs, cisterns and more, illustrated with photos, maps, explanations, even GPS coordinates – the product of painstaking research and countless site visits. Fascinating for Roman road enthusiasts, and indispensable to those wishing to visit the “queen of roads”: the leg work has been done.

This is the first phase of an ambitious project that will cover many of the Roman roads of Europe. I've had the pleasure of joining several of Giovanni's expeditions, and I can attest to his careful scholarship. See it at http://www.straderomane.it/index.htm (click on “English version.” To find the Via Appia, click on “The roads.”)

> Norman Roberson: an appreciation

Writer and Romaphile-extraordinaire Norman Roberson died in May after a six-month illness. Finding himself in Rome in the 1980s – and liking what he saw – Norm never left. His passion for history and archaeology, and especially for the living city of Rome, was contagious and inspirational to those who knew him, myself included. Through his work at the American Academy he was in a position to exchange ideas with some of the world’s leading archaeologists. I loved the personal perspective of his writings about the Lazio Region, and the exuberance with which he undertook his exploratory walks in the land of the Etruscans. He was always ready with a new idea, a warm word of encouragement or a dose of rascally humor. I will miss his company enormously. Happy trails Norm!

Optional days in Rome and other locations can be arranged with these packages.


For booking or more information:
email Dave
• call Dave at 831-425-3709 (California)
• call Brian at 250-653-9778 (British Columbia)

You are also invited to visit www.romanroadwalks.com.

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 © David Morton 2008 All rights reserved