Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Broken Sewer

At the Museum
Tiles Under the Bench
What do you do when everything goes wrong with your dream of opening a restaurant? That is what happened with the family who owns the Museo Archeologico Faggiano. They bought a nice old building in Lecce that they got for a good price because it needed plumbing work. No problem they were renovating anyway . . .Well it turned out that the problems went right back to the actual sewer pipe going to the city sewer. Only problem was they could not find the pipe, so a major digging project was undertaken in the basement. The search for the elusive sewer pipe ended up excavating the entire basement and WAY more. In the process they also uncovered 1000 years of history buried under their house. Under their “bargain” building was a series of natural caves and tunnels containing pottery and artifacts from all the way back to before there was a city here. As well these caves had been used as burial sites.

The dream of a popular Italian restaurant was forgotten and the house became a major archeological site. The family turned their building into a museum open to the public. Many of the major finds such as Greek urns and pottery went to the Provincial museum in Lecce (We went their first actually), and the house was converted so that visitors could explore the various levels of the caves and dig sites.

Going Down . .
This is a private museum, so you do not have wide stairways and fancy displays. Here you climb down rickety stairs to tiny underground caves. The spaces under the house go over two stories down, so you climb way down underground to see the caves used as burial sites 1000 years ago. As you climb down you see how the caves were buried and houses built on top. Underground caves had been turned into cisterns for water storage, but I doubt they even knew that under there were buried long dead Greeks and Romans.

Climbing Up
Then once you came back to the surface you could climb up to the rooftop and tower to look out over the current city of Lecce, and explore the original house with antique furnishings and original building structure. All through the house were pieces of pottery embedded in the plaster and walls, but I suspect this was more for effect than actual historical accurate building methods.
Some Historical Bottles?

As we entered the museum we were met by a little old lady who took our money and directed us to the numbered displays and gave us a pretty good English guide paper. Although she spoke no English she managed to reassure us that we could walk on the glass floor panels revealing the subterranean caves and excavations, and she insured we were following the correct order of displays. Me, who tends to wander on my own as I see things that interest me, was herded back on track a couple of times. Unlike the attendant at the “Provincial” museum where I felt under constant watch, here Grama was only being helpful.

Oh, by the way, the washroom worked fine, so I guess they did finally sort of that plumbing and sewer issue.

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