Friday, March 4, 2011

Reggio Calabria and the Bronzes

It rained all day Monday, and rain was forecast for most of the rest of the week in the Bay of Naples. Although our original intention was to go no further south than Paestrum, we change our plans, especially upon hearing from a Brit couple at Camping Spartacus about how nice Sicily is. ("They'll make you an offer you can't refuse"). So we pulled up stakes Tuesday morning and headed south, getting to within a hundred kilometers of Reggio Calabria (southwest end of the peninsula; toe of the boot) by dark, parking in a busy service area. The drive was unpleasant...freeway, mostly through the mountains, more all day rain and wintry mix, trucks and more trucks, never-ending construction on the never-ending procession of bridges and tunnels, bridges and tunnels. The A3 will be a great road when they finish it.

The next morning was clear and bright, and we got into Reggio by 9:30 or so, found excellent parking in a park on the Straits, and headed for the Museum of Magna Graeca, which houses the famous Bronzes of Riace. After learning it was closed for renovation, we headed for the School of Restoration (I was hoping it would be a restaurant school) where we were told the Bronzi now temporarily reside. In the course of all this we walked much of downtown Reggio, which we thought very nice, if tiring.

Salerno; where thousands of Americans died in the 1943

Swordfish sale in Reggio: 1/2 off (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)

The Bronzi were found by a diver off the shore at Riace, not
far from Reggio, in 1972, and were hailed immediately as one
of the greatest underwater finds yet: two nearly perfectly-
preserved bronze warriors, life-size or more, mid-5th century
BCE Greek; the Greeks did most of their sculpture in Bronze,
very few remain, and most of what is known of Greek
sculpture comes from Roman copies in marble

This is what they look like (off the web)

But when we entered the School of Restoration, they were
off in what looked like an intensive care ward, glassed off
from the rest of the exhibits, with a variety of technicians in
lab coats ministering to them (removing interior clay mold
material); interestingly, much the apparatus used in
preserving them is from surgery wards

Up-close of Warrior B; I wish I had more and
better pix, but they had a no pix policy for the
Bronzi and half a dozen guides and security
folk enforcing it

Elsewhere in the (temporary) exhibit from the Museum,
some nice small reliefs

And this wonderful 3rd century mosaic of dragons

The School of Restoration

Beautiful old banyan trees line the boulevard/boardwalk
along the Straits, facing Sicily

Sayonara, mainland; we are off in another ferry for the 20
minute ride to Messina

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