by Brenda W. Clough
Did I mention there are a -lot- of Roman ruins in southern France? The place is called Provence, which means ‘province’ — the Romans needed no other name for it. It was their main and favorite and first province, nearly as good as Italy. Many of the best-preserved and most major sites are World Heritage sites, or UNESCO Cultural Heritage designated. But almost better are the ones that aren’t so grand. They’re less crowded, less touristy, and are in towns that are therefore more pleasant.
Vaison-la-Romaine even has Rome in its name. The town itself revolves around wine, but back 2000 years ago it was the place where, if you were a rich Roman, you had your Gaulish estates. There you could park your wife and children, safe from the dangers and temptations of Rome, and while you were in the capital you could serve them wine from your estate in Provence. This house belongs to one of those worthies. He had a dynamite mosaic floor, as you can see. This was in the center of the dining room. All around the edge of the glorious square is a wide border of plain work, because that’s where the dining couches were placed. You’d all lie there, propped on left elbow, eating with right hand, and admire the bling on the floor.
We couldn’t finish touring the site in the time we had, and will have to go back!