Hall of the private apartment named after the “small hunt”

A day of hunting at the villa

SALA DELL’APPARTAMENTO PRIVATO DETTA DELLA “PICCOLA CACCIA” The importance given to hunting is testified to by many literary texts, especially written in imperial times, in which it is shown as the celebration of certain aspects of virtus, related to the exaltation of strength and cunning. The hunting activity was practised both as a moment of leisure for the owners of the latifundia, and as a function to supply animals for the shows that took place in the Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome.The large and imposing entrance of this room distinguishes it from the rooms preceding it on the north portico of the peristyle. It is the only room to have columns at the entrance, not an apse, confirming that its function, likely a dining room or winter living space, was both public and private. The more discreet tone, compared to other reception places, is underlined by the absence of marble slabs on the walls. The mosaic floor describes a series of scenes unfolding on five registers, of extreme and lively realistic synthesis, which present the commissioner of the villa with his family and servants on a hunting trip with dogs.The first register depicts the departure for the hunt and the pursuit of a fox, while the transport of a captured boar and a scene of sacrifice and offering to Diana occupy the second register.Below, in the central part, the narration continues with the description of an open-air banquet animated by richly dressed illustrious characters sitting on a stibadium, a wide semicircular sofa used for banquets, surrounded by hunters and servants.Breakfast in the reserve, which also continues in the fourth register, alternates with episodes of a fox chase and the capture of a hare.In a dynamic and realistic way, the final part of the mosaic surface depicts the deer hunt with a net and the killing of a boar.

A hidden meaning

The late antiquity residence: locus amoenus and centre of administrative activities in the heart of Sicily

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

The senses tell the Vestibule

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

The senses tell the bi-apsed ambulatory – Corridor of the “Great Hunt”

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

The senses tell the Basilica

Banquets and panegyrics enlivened the vast hall, against the background of a floor mosaic celebrating the feats of Hercules

An eloquent symbol: the signum

A small room embellished with marble

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

The possible celebration of a solemn event

The senses tell the monumental entrance

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

High-ranking characters depicted in the mosaics of the apsidal niches of the frigidarium

The senses tell the frigidarium

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

The senses tell the massage room

Semi-public rooms

The realistic depiction of a spa procession with a high-ranking female figure

A large colonnaded portico, a place of connection between the rooms

The golden age: hypotheses about the villa’s period of construction and clues

The public and private rooms of the villa

The apotheosis of Hercules

Auspicious symbols and perhaps the initials of the commissioner’s name decorate the mosaic of the apsidal room

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

The Latifundium

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

A small room represents one of the activities of the thermal bath route

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

The marble from the regions of the empire to decorate the basilica

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

Outdoor breakfast

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

The main nuclei of the Domus

A chariot race, set in the circus Maximus of Rome, connects the villa to the city and centre of power

Form of greeting or ritual?

Is the profile of the dominus hidden among the scenes depicted in the mosaics?

The senses tell the room in the private apartment known as “small hunt”

The rural sacrifice

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

A day of hunting at the villa

The catalogue of animals

The protagonists of the mosaics

Worship of the Lares

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa