thinking about tuscania

Yesterday for Travel Writing and Studio Art class we ventured to the town of Tuscania. When checking out Tuscania before our expedition, I found that it was called Toscanella until the 19th century. The town was founded by a man named Ascanius. It is said that he found 12 pups in town; hence the name Tuscania, as the Latin word for dog is “canis.” The city was built during the 7th century and was mainly important because of its “strategic position” compared to surrounding cities, which aided citizens of the town during Greek invasions.

We got the chance to see the Church of Saint Peter (San Pietro), which is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the Lazio region. Kevin and Tyler were insistent on me squeezing in between metal bars in the basement, leading into complete darkness… just for fun. Regardless of the fact that it was near impossible for even a lanky seven year old to fit in between the bars, the thought of successfully squeezing in to find that I was then stuck inside the black hole of darkness, surrounded by either rats or dead corpses, just didn’t seem like an appealing thing to do on your average Tuesday in Italy. After continuous begging and pleading, I made a deal with Tyler that I would come back to Tuscania and go through the bars to the other side. First, he just has to fly to Paris, go to the Eiffel Tower, buy a Nutella banana crepe and bring it back for me. Oh, and it has to be warm of course. We shook on it, so it’s official. And the waiting begins.

We also got the chance to see the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. This is actually my favorite church I have seen so far in Italy! It was so interesting on the outside and really different from all of the other churches I have come across in Europe. I read that the two columns at the entrance were actually copied from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. I have always found that it is the unexpected, spontaneous or unique things that end up being my favorite and most memorable. I believe I took up to ten of the same exact picture of this church in hopes that I wouldn’t forget it.

When posting a blog the other day, a quote by Gustave Flaubert appeared to the side of my screen. The quote read, “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” While I was walking around Tuscania, I was taking in the city while snapping away with my camera, but I never took the time to sit down and reflect on how I felt about the town. Now that I sit here to write, I realize that Tuscania left me with many questions. While exploring, we seemed to be the only ones on the streets. Most of the little shops were closed, it was a dreary and rainy day and there were black crows looming all around the towering buildings. The town was mysterious and eerie. Where was everyone? Why wasn’t anyone on the streets like in Viterbo? As the town has remained ancient through the years, do the citizens here live life just as they did back in the 7th century? Looking back at and reflecting on my pictures taken, I now appreciate the beauty and mystery of the town even more. You can’t see anything like those churches in Ohio, let alone the United States. All of my questions have left me wishing that for just a day I could go back to the 7th century, see how the citizens of Tuscania lived and find some answers!


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