Our first event of the day was to visit the Villa dei Quintili. This was a villa for the Quintili brothers, but Emperor Commodus had them executed and took control of their villa out of jealousy. This is the emperor depicted in the movie Gladiator, he was actually a jerk just like in the movie. We had a private bus to get there which took about 45 minutes. Once we got there we were taken aback by the amount of greenery. Most of Rome is covered in pavement, but this area looked more like Ireland than Italy. The ruins of the villa were very well preserved. Many walls were still standing and mosaics and wall decorations were also still visible in the ruins. Another interesting thing was that they are still excavating the area. We got to see a portion of the villa that has only been open to public viewing for a couple months. We also saw where they would be excavating next. There was a building top sticking out a little ways away from the main ruins, that is where they would be digging next. Additionally, we saw part of what an aqueduct looked like up close. This was the aqueduct that was an offshoot from the main aqueduct which used to supply water to the Villa dei Quintili. We also learned a little about bathing in ancient Rome. Commodus was obsessed with baths, he was even assassinated in one. They had three different baths for warm, hot and cold water. But we will learn more about this when we study the Diocletian baths, which were public baths used in ancient Rome.
Next, we wanted to eat lunch before going to the aqueduct park, but we didn’t have the bus booked long enough! It was 1pm already and we were hungry, but first we saw the aqueduct park. Nine of the eleven aqueducts that supplied ancient Rome run through this area. An interesting sight was a piece of a multi-level aqueduct in which a cross section was visible. So, from a distance, we were able to see how the inside of an aqueduct was structured.
On the bus ride home we ordered the pizza. We couldn’t even wait to get there. Because we ran into the time crunch with the bus John and Barbara covered lunch for us, we didn’t end up eating until 3 or 3:30! Aren’t our instructors the best!? We ordered from our go-to pizzeria and Alberto hooked us up with 21 pizzas. We ate almost all 21 of them in no time at all on the rooftop terrace at the hotel. After lunch, most wanted to do some laundry before we left Rome and this was the last opportunity to do it, so we had free time for the remainder of the day.