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

Starting from the late Republican period, the public buildings and residences of the Roman aristocracy were embellished with marble in white or bright colours; their use aimed to give prestige to the rooms that were covered with them, as in the most important space of the Villa del Casale, the basilica , designated by the dominus for official audiences.
In fact, it was the only room to be completely covered with marble slabs from the different regions of the empire, to underline its public and reception use. Observing the different types of marble that still decorate the basilica of the Villa del Casale, though with many gaps, transports us to the various regions of the Mediterranean: yellow Numidian marble; cipollino marble from the Island of Euboea; green Thessalian marble; Egyptian alabaster; African alabaster; cipollino rosso marble, and pavonazzetto marble from Asia Minor, not to mention the two valuable types of porphyry, red and green, from Egypt and Sparta.
In the Augustan age, Roman art used a few marbles of a single variety to decorate the floors, structured in geometric alternations and distributed in large homogeneous slabs to highlight the design.
Subsequently, the precision that accompanied the composition was prevailed by the interest in a combination that was even disorderly, through the simultaneous use of marbles of different origins.
This choice was dictated by a motivation that was not only aesthetic but also economic, since assembling the marble in no order also allowed slabs that previously adorned other buildings to be reused. Although architects favoured geometrical forms derived from the metric-proportional ratios of the human body, workers combined design with the space available.

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

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

A small room embellished with marble

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

The senses tell the frigidarium

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

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

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

The main nuclei of the Domus

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

The senses tell the massage room

The apotheosis of Hercules

Outdoor breakfast

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

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

The rural sacrifice

An eloquent symbol: the signum

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

The Latifundium

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

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

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

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The senses tell the monumental entrance

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

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

Worship of the Lares

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

The catalogue of animals

Form of greeting or ritual?

A hidden meaning

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

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

The possible celebration of a solemn event

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

The senses tell the Basilica

Semi-public rooms

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

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 Quadrangular Peristyle

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

The public and private rooms of the villa

A day of hunting at the villa

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

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

The protagonists of the mosaics

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

The senses tell the Vestibule