Concert Reviews | CD Reviews | DVD Reviews | Opera | Early Music | News | Film | Art | Books | Kids

27.12.05

Vaison-la-Romaine

Ancient theater, Vaison-la-Romaine (Vasio)I lived in France and have been on extended visits to several different regions, so I think I know the country fairly well. I should just stop thinking that, because I am always learning about places that I need to visit. Most recently added to my list is a Roman site, about to undergo a major restoration, described in an article by Sophie Latil (Vaison-la-Romaine : un théâtre si vivant, December 17) in Le Figaro (my translation and links added):

The stone steps of the ancient theater of Vaison-la-Romaine are covered with black gashes, indelible marks of the running water that has worn them away for two thousand years. Lichen has grown on the columns, irrevocably attacking the stone brought from Mont-Ventoux. "Leaving the monument in this state would be to condemn it to destruction," says Jean-Christophe Simon, curator of historic monuments at the Direction des affaires culturelles (Drac) in Aix-en-Provence.

In the first century, Vaison-la-Romaine (Vasio) was the capital of the Vocontii, a tribe of Celtic origin settled in the region stretching from Valence to Digne. The theater, judging by its architecture, dimensions, decoration, and materials used, gives witness to the ancient town's prosperity and is one of the rare structures visible today of the monumental city once found on the La Villasse and Puymin sites. Its construction goes back to the first century with renovations throughout the second century.
There are mosaics that were discovered at the site, and they will be restored, too. The restoration work has been planned so that it will not disturb the Choralies singing festival, which happens every three years in Vaison-la-Romaine, next scheduled for 2007. The Romans built a small bridge over the Ouvèze River in Vasio, too, which is still there.

2 comments:

Alex Ross said...

This is a wonderful site. I saw Radiohead play there, believe it or not!

Charles T. Downey said...

Alex, thanks for the great comment. What a great combination! If perhaps unexpected.