At Rome

March 16, 2016

Tonight I thought I’d share a group photo taken today in front of the Arch of Constantine. The Colosseum can be seen at right.

Group photo at Colosseum in Rome.

Group photo at Colosseum in Rome.

There is 3,000 years of history in Rome. More later. Thanks for following our blog.

 

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Sorrento/Pompeii

March 15, 2016

Yesterday morning we crossed the Straits of Messina, leaving Sicily and arriving at the toe of the “boot” of Italy. From there we went south to biblical Rhegium (Acts 28:12-13), then going north to Sorrento, where today we are to visit Pompeii and then make our way to Rome, making some stops along the way.

Last night we had opportunity to see Eliodoro Ruggiero(4th from left) and his bride Rosaria. Eliodoro preaches at nearby Poggiomarino.

Eliodoro and Rosaria Ruggiero

Eliodoro and Rosaria Ruggiero


Syracuse, Mt. Etna, and Taromina, Sicily

March 13, 2016

Yesterday (Saturday) we visited the archaeological sites Syracuse, Sicily, and from there went on to Mt. Etna (Europe’s most active volcano), and then to Taromina. While at the Greek theater at Syracuse we took this group photo.

Group photo at Greek Theater at Syracuse, Sicily. Photo by David Deason.

Group photo at Greek Theater at Syracuse, Sicily. Photo by David Deason.

This theater was built in the 5th century BC.

The city of Syracuse was founded in 733 BC by Greek settlers from Corinth. Some names associated with Syracuse include Aeschylus, considered the father of the Greek tragedy. The philosopher Plato was in Syracuse. Syracuse was the birthplace of Archimedes, the famous mathematician and most influential scientist of the ancient world.

But actually none of those names brought us to this ancient site; rather it was its biblical mention in connection with Paul’s journey (as a prisoner) to Rome. Of that point in the journey Luke writes, “And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days” (Acts 28:12).


On to Piazza Armerina and Siracusa, Sicily

March 11, 2016

Leaving Agrigento this morning, we went on to Piazza Armerina, and from there southeast to Siracusa, mentioned in Acts 28:12. While at Piazza Armerina we visited the Roman Villa of Casale. A portion of the Roman wall and one of the entrances is seen here:

Entrance to Roman Villa of Casale in Piazza Armerina, Sicily. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Entrance to Roman Villa of Casale in Piazza Armerina, Sicily. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The largest mosaic in the world, a hunting scene, is here.

Mosaic Hunting Scene. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Mosaic Hunting Scene. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This villa, as was generally the case when there was running water, was serviced by lead pipes, which caused the inhabitants to have lead poisoning.

Lead pipe at Villa of Casale. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Lead pipe at Villa of Casale. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We are looking forward to touring Siracusa tomorrow, as well as Mt. Etna, Europe’s highest and most active volcano.

For now, here is further info re: the Roman villa of Casale:

The Villa Romana del Casale  is a Roman villa built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about 3 km outside the town of Piazza Armerina, Sicily, southern Italy. It contains the richest, largest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world, and has been designated as one of 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy.

Plan of the villa
The villa was constructed (on the remains of an older villa) in the first quarter of the 4th century AD, probably as the center of a huge latifundium (agricultural estate) covering the surrounding area. How long the villa had this role is not known, maybe for fewer than 150 years. The complex remained inhabited and a village grew around it, named Platia (derived from the word palatium (palace). The villa was damaged and perhaps destroyed during the domination of the Vandals and the Visigoths. The outbuildings remained in use, at least in part, during the Byzantine and Arab periods. The site was abandoned in the 12th century AD after a landslide covered the villa. Survivors moved to the current location of Piazza Armerina.

The villa was almost entirely forgotten, although some of the tallest parts of the remains were always above ground. The area was cultivated for crops. Early in the 19th century, pieces of mosaics and some columns were found. The first official archaeological excavations were carried out later in that century.

The first professional excavations were made by Paolo Orsi in 1929, followed by the work of Giuseppe Cultrera in 1935-39. The last major excavations took place in the period 1950-60. They were led by Gino Vinicio Gentili, after which a cover was built over the mosaics. In the 1970s Andrea Carandini carried out a few localized excavations at the site. (Wikipedia)


Selinunte and Agrigento, Sicily

March 10, 2016

Tonight we are in Agrigento, on the southern coast of Sicily. One of my group, Dr. Eric Awwad, is wearing a pedometer and today logged 5.8 miles of walking in our visiting archaeological sites today. Our local guide took this group photo (minus 2 or 3 of our folks) at the Temple of Concordia in the Valley of the Temples in ancient Agrigento.

Mauldin Group photo at Temple of Concordia at Agrigento.

Mauldin Group photo at Temple of Concordia at Agrigento.

This is the most famous structure of the Valley of the Temples, and is one of the best preserved Doric temples in the world. It dates back to the 5th century BC.

Earlier we were at Selinunte, where among other fascinating ruins we saw the Temple of Hera (also known as “Temple E”).

Temple of Hera at Selinunte. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Temple of Hera at Selinunte. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

I’m glad my wife Linda is with us on this trip.

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Linda at Selinunte, Sicily. Photo by Sonja Winburn.

Yes, we had a little rain today. Tomorrow we are to visit the Roman villa of Casale and from there make our way to biblical Siracusa.


Monreale and Mondello Beach, Palerma, Sicily

March 9, 2016

Our trip concluded today with a view looking out from Mondello Beach.

Looking out from Mondello Beach, Sicily. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Looking out from Mondello Beach, Sicily. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We’ve had very co-operative weather today (though it is sprinkling tonight). Our morning began with a visit to Monreale where we had the opportunity to visit the Cathedral. “The building of the monument takes us back to the high point of the Norman kingdom in Sicily, which coincides with the reign of William II (1172-1189)” (Monreale: The Cathedral and the Cloister, p.3).

Monreale Cathedral. Dates back to the 12th century. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Monreale Cathedral. Dates back to the 12th century. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We are to leave Palermo in the morning for Selinunte and then Agrigento to visit the archaeological areas including the Valley of the Temples. There is an incredible amount of history and historical sites in the country of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean.

We plan to post more as time permits.

 


Giovanni Falcone Monument in Capaci

March 8, 2016

My group arrived safely in Palermo, Sicily this afternoon, all in apparent good health, and all of our luggage also!

Our actual touring of archaeological and biblical sites begins tomorrow. On our way to our hotel our tour host pointed out the Giovanni Falcone Monument on the A29 Coastal Highway, at the location where Falcone was assassinated, and gave us some interesting information.

Here is a photo I took from inside the bus while we made a quick stop.

Giovanni Falcone Monument near Palermo, Sicily. Photo by Leon Mauldin

Giovanni Falcone Monument near Palermo, Sicily. Photo by Leon Mauldin

Wikipedia has this info:

Giovanni Falcone, 18 May 1939 – 23 May 1992) was an Italian judge and prosecuting magistrate. From his office in the Palace of Justice in Palermo (Sicily), he spent most of his professional life trying to overthrow the power of the Sicilian Mafia. After a long and distinguished career, culminating in the famous Maxi Trial in 1986-1987, he was killed by the Corleonesi Mafia in May 1992, on the A29 motorway near the town of Capaci.

His life parallels that of his close friend Paolo Borsellino. They both spent their early years in the same neighbourhood in Palermo. And though many of their childhood friends grew up in the Mafia background, both men fought on the other side of the war as prosecuting magistrates. They were both killed in 1992, a few months apart. In recognition of their tireless effort and sacrifice during the anti-mafia trials, they were both awarded the Italian “Medaglia d’oro al valore civile” (Gold medal for civil valor). They were also named as heroes of the last 60 years in the November 13, 2006, issue of Time Magazine.

We will plan to post more as we have opportunity along our tour.