Monumental entrance

An eloquent symbol: the signum

The recent restoration, which also involved the monumental entrance, highlighted a unique aspect of the best preserved signum

of the four identified in pairs next to the side openings.
One of the two military signa frescoed on the wall adjoining the right-hand fornix shows four phalerae , which alternate with rectangles. These medallions most likely depicted imperial portraits: the first two from the top with the bust of the two Augusti, the remaining two with those of the two Caesars of the first tetrarchy or of Constantine and his family. The most legible portrait is the third from the top, which some say depicts Galerius, even if it does not resemble his official portraits. He is placed in a three-quarter view, has an elongated face framed by a short beard, typical of the iconography of the Tetrarchic tradition, and a dark fringe, in the act of looking towards the entrance. The image inserted in a tondo, known as an imago clipeata, is typical of Roman portraiture and as mentioned, was used as an instrument of political and imperial promotion.
The opposite end of the entrance arch, the western one, is also decorated according to the same scheme, with the difference that the life-size figures contained in the large rectangular paintings, which alternate with the two signa, wear civilian and non-military clothes. As it stands, studies have not reached unanimity or clarity on the presence of these eloquent symbols at the entrance to the villa: they could be attributed to an imperial commission or to a person who held important military positions or roles that included the use of the emperor’s insignia or images. In any case, the decorative wealth of the entrance has a celebratory purpose and is reminiscent of the magnificence of the imperial triumphal arches.

A hidden meaning

The senses tell the Vestibule

A day of hunting at the villa

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

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

Semi-public rooms

The catalogue of animals

The Latifundium

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

The main nuclei of the Domus

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

Outdoor breakfast

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

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

The senses tell the massage room

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

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

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

The possible celebration of a solemn event

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

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

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

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

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

The senses tell the monumental entrance

The senses tell the frigidarium

Worship of the Lares

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

An eloquent symbol: the signum

Form of greeting or ritual?

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

The rural sacrifice

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

The apotheosis of Hercules

The protagonists of the mosaics

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

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

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

The senses tell the Basilica

A small room embellished with marble

The public and private rooms of the villa

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

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

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

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

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

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences