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Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

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Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

I am very familiar with the concrete structures in Rome, are there any ancient roman concrete structures to visit in Florence?

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1. Re: Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

In Florence, as far as I know, the only certified Roman buildings that have been accessible in my day are those buried under what is now the awful Piazza della Republica.

I don't know if there is a way for the public to get access to them these days. Does anybody else know?

In Fiesole, there is the lovely Roman amphitheater - which our sons used to love to run around in on hot summer days - but what is left there, as I remember, is all stone.

I, too, am fascinated by the incredibly sophisticated technologies used by the Romans in constructing with concrete - such as the use of Pozzuolo volcanic ash to allow them to build a thinner roof of the Pantheon.

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2. Re: Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

As far as I know, there is no access today to the archeological site under Piazza della Repubblica. If it's any consolation, you can look at the floor of the Hard a rock Café while munching on a burger and imagine the Roman Capitoline Temple under your feet.

To my knowledge, there are no Roman concrete structures in Florence. But the following may be of interest anyway:

When we stroll along the streets and narrow alleys of Florence, we're walking as much as two meters above ground level. There's a lot of history under them thar paving stones! But for a city that was founded by the Romans over 2000 years ago, precious little of Roman "stuff" is readily available to meet the eye. The reasons why are fascinating, and just one more reason to come here and explore!

The Roman theater, under Palazzo Vecchio, has been excavated and can be visited, sometimes, by by making reservations: www.museicivicifiorentini.it/en/index.html

Other Roman sites in the center are tucked away: one of the gates in the south wall of the Roman city, the Porta Rossa(Red Gate) is inside the Hotel Porta Rossa on Via (what else?) Via della Porta Rossa.

The Hotel Brunelleschi, in Piazza Santa Elisabetta, is housed in the uniqurly round medieval Torre della Pagliazza, which in turn was built on the remains of the calidarium of a Roman bath.

On the corner of Via Dante Alighieri and Via del Proconsolo, across the street from the Bargello, is a boutique. Under its glass floor are visible the vats used in a Roman laundry. They can be seen from the street.

By law, archeological sites contained within private structures are supposed to be made accessible upon request. In the real world, this doesn't always happen. When asked to be taken to see one of these sites you might be greeted with a welcoming smile, or you can get a shrug and a “Roman ruin? What Roman ruin?" Be polite yet firm, remembering that you can get more flies with Vinsanto than you can with vinegar!

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3. Re: Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

The archaeological park up at Fiesole (20 mins by bus from Piazza San Marco) does indeed have Roman remains, but of a theatre, not an amphitheatre, and Roman baths. However, they are all stone. There are also some Etruscan remains and a small museum. It is worth the trip.

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4. Re: Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

I am really looking for 2000 year old concrete, I am staying in Florence for a week and wanted to do a day trip to see old concrete. Is there any roman concrete sites in Tuscany or is my only option to go to Rome for the day?

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5. Re: Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

Peggypatch,

Thank you. I have stumbled through any number of Greco-Roman theaters and amphitheaters in Europe and Asia Minor without ever realizingthe bizarre fact that the Romans were totally confused about the nomenclature. Do you have any idea how the Romans wound up calling "amphitheaters" "theaters" and vice versa?

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6. Re: Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

BarnabasRam

There are, of course, Roman buildings all over Western Europe, but go to Rome if only for the concrete work in the Pantheon and the Colosseum. You may have noticed recent news stories about the recent discoveries of frescoes on the walls of the Colosseum:

https://www.google.it/search?q=frescoes+found+in+colosseum&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=E8d&tbo=u&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=PsEWUbXDLsPV4gS1z4HICQ&ved=0CDAQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=553

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7. Re: Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

Your reply feels like it is dripping with sarcasm uncletomaso and I don't know why. You know as well as I do that an amphitheatre is understood to be a circular or oval structure for viewing from all sides and that is not what is to be found in Fiesole. I don't know if the word was used incorrectly by the Romans, the Greek origin seems to make sense of the word as we understand it today, and that is what we are talking about here, the meanings words have today.

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8. Re: Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

Peggypatch:

I just saw this, else I would have answered sooner.

I had absolutely no intention whatsoever to be sarcastic. I was honestly expressing gratitude for having learned something, which is my wont.

Now the shoe is on the other foot.

You say, "You know as well as I do that an amphitheatre is understood to be a circular or oval structure. . ."

In fact, what I thought I knew is the exact opposite.

Ancient Greek amphitheatres (The word, of course, is Greek - ἀμφιθέατρον.) were built in a semi-circle. Traditionally, they were cut out of the sides of hills, and it would have been difficult to have a round or oval theatre cut out of a hillside.

What I never knew until I did more reading following your post was that the Romans called their oval or round constructions "amphitheatres", and they called their semi-circular constructions "theatres".

It's all, of course, a question of semantics, but where I come from, we called the semi-circular construction carved out of a hillside where boys in my school gathered on nice days, "the amphiteatre".

And I meant absolutely no disrespect with my earlier post - or this one.

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9. Re: Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

Then I hope you will accept my apology. The written word has its limitations, the ability to perceive tone being one of the most problematic, in my experience!

Norwich, United...
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10. Re: Ancient Roman Concrete in Florence

Going back to Roman concrete - perhaps the most appropriate place to see it is Pozzuoli, the Campania town which gave pozzolana its name, where for sure there's an anfiteato!

www.pbase.com/isolaverde/slides_pozzuoli

And although, like the Colosseum, it may not yet be quite 2000 years old, it was made using lots of concrete, as were these spectacular baths - at nearby Baia...

www.pbase.com/isolaverde/image/83695448

http://www.pbase.com/image/83695445

Just not a very easy outing from Florence?

Peter

PS.. a few others, be they sheep or goats!

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/ovals

Edited: 16 February 2013, 19:01