Quadrangular Peristyle

The catalogue of animals

The choice of subjects and scenes that animate the floor decorations of the Villa Romana del Casale is not random. A precise iconographic program was skilfully translated by groups of workers, even from North Africa, who used their knowledge to enrich the models already used by mosaicists on the island. The well-thought-out insertion of animal protomes within a geometric scheme as a floor decoration of the peristyle, according to some theories, goes beyond the simple aesthetic and decorative criterion to represent hunting trophies and become a prelude to the decorated scenes of capture in the “corridor of the great hunt”.An alternative could, instead, relate the catalogue of animals directly to the figurative mosaic of the vestibule if we consider it an extensive representation of masks. Of the hypotheses put forward over time, the vestibule scene has been linked to the January feasts when it was customary to dress up.
By analogy, the use of tiles that can be traced back to the rigorous depiction of the animal faces that populate the mosaic decoration of the peristyle, can be found in the Mosaic of the Protomes, originally located in the House of Protomes of Thuburbo Majus (present day Henchir el-Kasbat) and now preserved in the Bardo National Museum in Tunisia. Its location within the North African domus was adjacent to a scene of animal fighting reminiscent of the “catalogue of animals – scenes of venationes or combat” duo present in Piazza Armerina. The evident similarities between decorative models in non-neighbouring territories have reinforced the idea that in the 4th century AD there was a wide diffusion of subjects due to frequent movements of workers.

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

The Latifundium

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

The catalogue of animals

The senses tell the Basilica

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

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

A small room embellished with marble

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

Semi-public rooms

The senses tell the frigidarium

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

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 prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

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

The protagonists of the mosaics

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

The senses tell the massage room

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

The senses tell the Vestibule

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

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

A hidden meaning

The senses tell the monumental entrance

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

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

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

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

The apotheosis of Hercules

An eloquent symbol: the signum

The public and private rooms of the villa

Form of greeting or ritual?

Outdoor breakfast

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

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

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

Worship of the Lares

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

The possible celebration of a solemn event

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

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

The rural sacrifice

A day of hunting at the villa

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

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

The main nuclei of the Domus

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

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