Biapsidal Hall

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The depiction of circus races was quite frequent in the iconography of the time, but a singular clue suggests that the arena, shown in the mosaic floor of the biapsidal hall, was seen from the imperial gallery. In no mosaic ornament, known to date, does the statue depicting the Magna Mater, Cybele , appear with her back to the viewer.

This was only possible from a specific observation point, the pulvinar, reserved for the court and the most important political offices of the Empire. This detail reveals the intention of the dominus of the late antiquity residence to allude, in the iconographic project commissioned for his residence, to the position he held in Rome.
Some suggest that he wanted to evoke the great circus events in which he had taken part or which he had organised in his role as praefectus urbi . A further theory suggests an intent to place his domus, located in the countryside, on the same level as the Imperial Palace of Rome.

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

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

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

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

The main nuclei of the Domus

An eloquent symbol: the signum

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

The possible celebration of a solemn event

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

The senses tell the frigidarium

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

Outdoor breakfast

The public and private rooms of the villa

The senses tell the Basilica

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

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

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

Semi-public rooms

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

The Latifundium

The rural sacrifice

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

Worship of the Lares

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

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

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

A small room embellished with marble

The senses tell the Vestibule

A hidden meaning

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

Form of greeting or ritual?

The apotheosis of Hercules

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

The catalogue of animals

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

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

The protagonists of the mosaics

A day of hunting at the villa

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

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

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

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

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The senses tell the monumental entrance

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

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

The senses tell the massage room

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

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

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence