The context - the territory

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

Due to the multiple varieties of architectural and decorative elements that characterise it, the Villa Romana del Casale can be considered one of the most significant examples of a residence of reception from the first half of the 4th century AD,

compared to other dwellings in the Roman West   in the same period.
The domus stands on the slopes of Mount Mangone, above the remains of a villa rustica built between the first and second half of the 3rd century AD.
The role assumed by the countryside for the economic activities of the time contributed to significantly change the use of residences, considered by Titus Lucretius Carus as mere places dedicated to reflection and the search for spiritual peace.
Archaeological investigations identified the pars fructuaria , or pars rustica  according to some scholars, south of the late antiquity residence, recognisable by remaining structures of warehouses used to store farming products.

This discovery underlines the important role held by the villa as a centre of economic and productive activity. Therefore, no longer was it an isolated building with articulated architecture, but a miniature city that had moved from urban reality to the countryside.
Olympiodorus of Thebes, a 5th-century historian, later recalled that the villas “were like a city, and indeed they contained a thousand cities”.

For these reasons the Roman domus assumes the dual function of place, immersed in nature in a private setting, and a dynamic centre for economic and administrative activity.

The possible celebration of a solemn event

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

The main nuclei of the Domus

The senses tell the massage room

The senses tell the monumental entrance

Semi-public rooms

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

The senses tell the frigidarium

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

A hidden meaning

The Latifundium

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

The senses tell the Basilica

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

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

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

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

The senses tell the Vestibule

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

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

Form of greeting or ritual?

A small room embellished with marble

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

Worship of the Lares

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

Outdoor breakfast

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

The apotheosis of Hercules

The rural sacrifice

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

The protagonists of the mosaics

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

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

An eloquent symbol: the signum

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

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

The catalogue of animals

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

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

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

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

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

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

The public and private rooms of the villa

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

A day of hunting at the villa

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