Biapsidal Hall

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

A glance at the Circus Maximus

What an extraordinary mosaic this room contains! A chariot race in the Circus Maximus in Rome. The view from the imperial tribune is magnificent. The Cybele statue towers over the marble-covered spina from behind; that viewpoint is only allowed to personalities close to the imperial court who are housed in the Pulvinar. The white marble steps are crowded with colours. The opening of the carceres with the horses, with their decorated manes, interrupts the silence of the wait before the start of the competition. Here are the wagons picking up speed with the four colours of the factions competing to complete seven laps.  The victory is reported by the charioteer of the greens, who is greeted by a magistrate in a gilded contabulata toga, and by a tuba player.

An agitated race

The cries of the crowd urging the start of the competition became increasingly deafening, and to think that a few hours earlier, a supernatural silence reigned over the Circus Maximus. The horses huff inside the carceres, nervously scraping their hooves on the ground until the magistrate organising the games waves a white banner. From this moment on, the arena is pervaded by the deafening roar of the chariot wheels sprinkled with water by the sparsores, accompanied by the increasingly insistent cracking of the whips, until the sound of the tuba signals the end of the race.

Smells from the arena

The tumultuous race of the quadrigas raises an immense amount of dust that seems to land on us just by looking at the scene. Right in front of us, the red faction’s wagon tips over but immediately resumes the race. From the bleachers, the smells and scents of the robes of the Romans watching the spectacle pervade the atmosphere, mingling with the acrid odour of horse sweat.

Panem et circenses

Many spectators are depicted in the southern apse, and from their clothing we can tell they are all high-ranking people watching the race.  Among them, we notice two men handing out bread on rectangular trays. Under its arches, the Circus Maximus concealed a very long portico full of shops and food on display. Usually the audience brought olives, cheeses and other foodstuffs to the steps and consumed them while attending the show.

The protagonists of the mosaics

The apotheosis of Hercules

The main nuclei of the Domus

Semi-public rooms

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

The senses tell the monumental entrance

Form of greeting or ritual?

The senses tell the massage room

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

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

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

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

The Latifundium

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

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

The senses tell the Basilica

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

The senses tell the frigidarium

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

Outdoor breakfast

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

The catalogue of animals

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

The rural sacrifice

The senses tell the Vestibule

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

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

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

A small room embellished with marble

A hidden meaning

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

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

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

The possible celebration of a solemn event

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

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

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

A day of hunting at the villa

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

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

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

Worship of the Lares

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

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

The public and private rooms of the villa

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes