The context - the Villa

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

The scenes depicted in the mosaics of the Villa Romana del Casale not only bring us closer to the profile of its dominus, they also suggest some questions still unresolved by scholars.
The majority believe that the late antiquity building and its mosaic decoration were carried out in a single phase, but a precise time frame has not yet been identified.
The observation of the style and the subjects represented in the mosaics of some rooms has led art historians to a possible date between 320 and 360 AD.This hypothesis is countered by an additional theory dating back to a period between 290 and 312 AD. An interesting clue for the date is the obelisk reproduced on the spina of the Circus Maximus , which decorates the floor mosaic of the biapsidal hall , known for the dynamic scene of the quadriga (chariot) race.Its structure is a point of contention for experts; some believe that it is the Obelisk of Augustus , decentralised in the mosaic of Piazza Armerina, perhaps to represent its transfer during the year 327 AD to make room for a larger obelisk that arrived in Rome only thirty years later by Constantius II . The race seems to take place around a single obelisk, perhaps during the period in which the first one was moved, which attests to completion of the work between 327 and 357 AD.
Another explanation leads us to think that the depiction was made in this way to make the award ceremony legible and, therefore, only for compositional needs.
These varying interpretations are joined, due to the understanding of the years of construction of the late antiquity domus, by an important historical event passed down through sources. It concerns a series of earthquakes that occurred in Sicily between 362 and 365 AD, which may also have affected the Villa del Casale, leading to restoration work for damage or perhaps an entire reconstruction.

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

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

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

The main nuclei of the Domus

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

A small room embellished with marble

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

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

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

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

The public and private rooms of the villa

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

The senses tell the monumental entrance

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

A hidden meaning

The apotheosis of Hercules

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

A day of hunting at the villa

The senses tell the frigidarium

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

The senses tell the Vestibule

Outdoor breakfast

Semi-public rooms

The rural sacrifice

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

The catalogue of animals

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

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

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

Worship of the Lares

Form of greeting or ritual?

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

The senses tell the Basilica

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

The protagonists of the mosaics

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

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

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

The senses tell the massage room

The possible celebration of a solemn event

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

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

An eloquent symbol: the signum

The Latifundium

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

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

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