Sacellum Larum

A small room embellished with marble

In the western portico of the quadrangular peristyle that surrounds the spaces of the inner nucleus of the late antiquity domus, there is a snug and square-shaped apsidal room used as a sacellum, attributed to the worship of the Lares, i.e. a place generally small in size marked by the presence of an altar consecrated to one or several deities. The room is inserted in the ascending path of the villa, which outlines the public and official sector, which is especially recognisable for the marble covering of the walls in the most important rooms.The room was also embellished by a marble statue group, of which few fragments remain, depicting a young Hercules together with the Ceryneian Hind.
It is possible that, at the beginning, when there was still no brickwork to close the spaces between the columns, this place had the typical aedicula shape, a structure bordered by columns and a pediment, which perhaps housed the statue of the current emperor or the master of the villa.
Only later, with the transformation into an apsidal chamber, did some scholars speculate that it might have contained the sigillum, the effigy of the ancestors of the dominus, the lares familiares, in the form of a statuette that may have been made of wax, wood or terracotta.
In addition, the discovery of a semicircular fountain under the foundations, later replaced with the sacellum, perhaps an afterthought of the commissioner, supports the hypothesis that the main entrance of the villa originally coincided with the vestibule.

The senses tell the monumental entrance

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

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

Semi-public rooms

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

Outdoor breakfast

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

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

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

The possible celebration of a solemn event

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

The protagonists of the mosaics

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

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

The rural sacrifice

Worship of the Lares

The main nuclei of the Domus

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

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

A small room embellished with marble

The senses tell the frigidarium

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

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

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

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

The Latifundium

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

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

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

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

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

The senses tell the Basilica

The senses tell the Vestibule

The apotheosis of Hercules

A hidden meaning

The public and private rooms of the villa

Form of greeting or ritual?

An eloquent symbol: the signum

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

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

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

The catalogue of animals

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

A day of hunting at the villa

The senses tell the massage room

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