Friday, August 1, 2008

Belly up

Sports bar, originally uploaded by mission75.

Lefty O'Doul's. The Bell in Hand. Pshaw. Youngsters. This is what a historic sports bar looks like. Part of the ruins of an inn on the outskirts of Ostia Antica, Rome's ancient port city, this room is decorated with mosaics of athletes on the floor. Since no self-respecting haven for weary travelers could be without a pub, and since buildings of the time were often decorated according to their function--the mosaics at the fishmongers' shop have a piscatorial theme, for example--I can only conclude that this was the spot to toss a few back and talk about last night's game. Or, er, gladiatorial match.

(Though it doesn't have the cachet of the Colosseum or the Vatican, I think Ostia Antica is an absolute can't-miss for any visitor to Rome. An easy metro ride out of the center, it's an extensive and well-preserved ancient city--some call it a "mini-Pompeii"--that you can explore in near solitude, really getting a sense of what life of the time might have been like.)

So, how 'bout them Centurions?

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