The thermal baths

The senses tell the massage room

A didactic scene

So many people stand out in this small room’s floor mosaic! However, not all of them have the same importance: one in particular seems to attract our attention because of their muscular build. They certainly devoted a lot of time to their self care through constant training and massages. The room, which seems to be a passageway to the warmer areas of the baths due to its size, must have been used to massage clients in search of well-being. The man, whose face is unfortunately not visible, could have been the dominus of the villa! The people surrounding him are young servants, almost all equipped with specific objects used for massaging: a bucket containing the cream, a cruet for the ointment and the strigil.

a relaxing silence

Upon entering this place, the way in which sounds were perceived was very different from that in other parts of the baths. Imagine … the persistent chatter and laughter that filled the large space of the frigidarium fell away to a state of complete relaxation, interrupted only by the slow rubbing of servants’ hands as they massaged the athletic body of the main character with oils and creams.

The aromas of well-being

You can still smell the scent of the aromatic ointments in the round cruciferous ampoule and of lomentum, the ointment made from macerated lupins and honey used for massages.  The massages were also carried out using cedar oil from Lebanon, to which olive oil, lavender and rosemary were added. When entering the massage room, you would be pervaded by a multitude of scents emanating from natural products that were also used by men, who were just as interested in body care as women.

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

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

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

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

Outdoor breakfast

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

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

The possible celebration of a solemn event

The rural sacrifice

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

The apotheosis of Hercules

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

The senses tell the monumental entrance

A day of hunting at the villa

The senses tell the Basilica

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

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

The main nuclei of the Domus

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

The Latifundium

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

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

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

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

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

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

The public and private rooms of the villa

Semi-public rooms

Form of greeting or ritual?

The senses tell the massage room

Worship of the Lares

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

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

The protagonists of the mosaics

A small room embellished with marble

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

The senses tell the Vestibule

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

The catalogue of animals

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

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

An eloquent symbol: the signum

The senses tell the frigidarium

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

A hidden meaning

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths