15 November 2011

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day, the story of an attempt to faithfully construct a Roman villa in the countryside of contempary Shropshire was a fascinating show to watch.

Many of the construction techniques used were experimental and based on the writings of Vitruvius. Six builders, all from the modern construction industry, were thrown together under the direction of a suitably qualified academic. Sadly, the academic could have been a bit more flamboyant with his tweed. Still, for me, reality television doesn't get any better than this, although Bear Grylls diet is certainly funnier to watch.

So many traditional building techniques were on display, including making and baking tubulae, building a hypercaust, carpentry from forest to beam, plaster followed by fresco and laying a mosaic. The mason, who was really a brickie, shaped six sandstone blocks into two circular columns.

The narrator mentioned that the Pantheon in Rome has one piece columns, which is relatively rare. It is made of the harder granite of course. I have decided this is why the Pantheon was the most striking building that I saw in Rome.

When they finished the villa, the builders celebrated by donning togas for a traditional feast, recalling any number of dinner scenes from Asterix, minus the debauchery and gluttony.

Visit the villa.

Thanks my ABC.

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