For the last few weeks, I’ve been traipsing around Italy and getting re-acquainted with all the haunts that are pertinent to my fields of research. So far, the highlights have been:
Seeing the frieze of the Vestal Virgins in Palermo. I was very fortunate to have an Italian guide who was able to liaise with the staff at the Museo Archeologico Antonio Salinas. I was granted special access to the frieze as the museum is currently under renovation and the level where they keep the frieze is not currently open to the public. This frieze depicts the Vestals approaching a sacrifice, the seating figure is thought to be the chief Vestal Virgin.
Revisiting the Ara Pacis in Rome. This structure is a pivotal symbol of Augustus’ political career, the reconstruction of this altar and the work to preserve the structure make this one of my favourite museums. The Ara Pacis contains a small frieze of the Vestals in procession and the museum also houses a fragment depicting the Vestals attending a banquet, which was found near the Via del Corso. Turns out the major shopping district has even more to offer the historian 😉