Travels September 2006

The Travel Advisory

Highlights of a “Fall of Rome Tour”
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"The Road From Ravenna" (September 2006)
In the footsteps of the last Roman emperor. By Cullen Murphy

Two days is enough to see Ravenna, whose historic center is compact and well suited to walking. Time a longer visit to coincide with the Ravenna Festival, which for seventeen years has brought music, theater, opera, and dance to this former imperial city. The festival runs for several weeks in June and July and offers concerts and acts in venues that are as mesmerizing as the groups the festival attracts. Past performances have included Oscar Wilde’s Salome and an appearance by the Martha Graham Dance Company.

Ravenna Festival
Via Dante Alighieri, 1
48100 Ravenna, Italy

The idea for the Appian Way Archaeological Park (Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica) originated in the late 1800s, when development began encroaching on the remains of the Via Appia. In 1988, after decades of pressure from conservationists, the park opened as an archeological and wildlife preserve. Be sure to visit the San Sebastiano catacombs, which once held the remains of the apostles Peter and Paul, and the imposing circular mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, the daughter-in-law of one of Caesar’s triumvirate.

Appian Way
Archaeological Park
Via Appia Antica, 42
00179 Rome, Italy

Visit the Aurelian Wall Museum (Museo delle Mura) to learn more about the history of the Aurelian Wall, built to keep the barbarians out of Rome. The museum makes a good starting point for a walk along one of the longest contiguous sections of this ancient structure. It is temporarily closed for renovations, so be sure to call in advance.

Aurelian Wall Museum
Via di Porta San Sebastiano
Rome, Italy
Presented by

Cullen Murphy

Says Cullen Murphy, "At The Atlantic we try to provide a considered look at all aspects of our national life; to write, as well, about matters that are not strictly American; to emphasize the big story that lurks, untold, behind the smaller ones that do get told; and to share the conclusions of our writers with people who count."

Murphy served as The Atlantic Monthly's managing editor from 1985 until 2005, when the magazine relocated to Washington. He has written frequently for the magazine on a great variety of subjects, from religion to language to social science to such out-of-the-way matters as ventriloquism and his mother's method for pre-packaging lunches for her seven school-aged children.

Murphy's book Rubbish! (1992), which he co-authored with William Rathje, grew out of an article that was written by Rathje, edited by Murphy, and published in the December, 1989, issue of The Atlantic Monthly. In a feature about the book's success The New York Times reported that the article "was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 1990 and became a runaway hit for The Atlantic Monthly, which eventually ran off 150,000 copies of it." Murphy's second book, Just Curious, a collection of his essays that first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly and Harper's, was published in 1995. His most recent book, The Word According to Eve: Women and The Bible in Ancient Times and Our Own, was published in 1998 by Houghton Mifflin. The book grew out of Murphy's August 1993 Atlantic cover story, "Women and the Bible."

Murphy was born in New Rochelle, New York, and grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. He was educated at Catholic schools in Greenwich and in Dublin, Ireland, and at Amherst College, from which he graduated with honors in medieval history in 1974. Murphy's first magazine job was in the paste-up department of Change, a magazine devoted to higher education. He became an editor of The Wilson Quarterly in 1977. Since the mid-1970s Murphy has written the comic strip Prince Valiant, which appears in some 350 newspapers around the world.

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