Monumental entrance

The senses tell the monumental entrance

a monumental portal

The sumptuous three-arched entrance to the Late Antique residence must have thrilled those who entered because of the multitude of colours that enriched it, starting with the bright colours of the plasterwork decorated with geometric mirrors in imitation marble, which recalled the high rank of the dominus. Those entering through the side entrances were observed by the pairs of frescoed figures. Even the two symmetrical fountains, placed between the large central and lateral openings, restore part of the decorations on the outside, simulating lively marble slabs in contrast to the whiteness of the interior mosaics, surmounted by an elegant decoration with plant racemes and birds. A number of guards, the ianitores, watched over the entrances through which those who had to make their way to the great hall where the dominus held his audience, the Basilica, or to other places such as the public baths and the vestibule, entered. The surrounding wall of the villa could be seen, even from a distance, rising in the latifundium, inhabited by the houses of the settlers.

reflected voices

As we approach the majestic building, of which monumental remains can still be seen, we get the impression, even today, of hearing the voices of the guards who watched over the entrance and the sound of the hooves of the horses that entered the villa in the retinue of the dominus, identifiable in the frescoes on the eastern wall that encloses the square. From the niches above the two rectangular fountains, which are now only attached to the piers and Ionic columns, we can still hear the constant sound of the water flowing into the basins and animating, with its reflection, the plant shoots inhabited by birds that decorate the interior.


The air is still imbued with the intoxicating scent of the resin from the trees which, since the 4th century A.D., have provided shade for the vast latifundium caressed by the slow passing of the seasons. In front of the monumental entrance, wagons carrying products such as wine, wheat, oil and fruit to nearby warehouses must have permeated the atmosphere with pleasant aromas from the harvest.

Solid materials for an elegant construction

Touching the remains of the limestone ashlars of the sumptuous architecture, the residual plaster and the mosaic tiles of the basins, can give us an idea of the consistency of the materials used for this imposing construction, showing the high rank of its owner.

Form of greeting or ritual?

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

The senses tell the monumental entrance

The possible celebration of a solemn event

Outdoor breakfast

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

Semi-public rooms

An eloquent symbol: the signum

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

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

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

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

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

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

The senses tell the frigidarium

The senses tell the Basilica

The rural sacrifice

The senses tell the Vestibule

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

A hidden meaning

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

The protagonists of the mosaics

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

The public and private rooms of the villa

The catalogue of animals

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

The Latifundium

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

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

Worship of the Lares

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

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

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

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 astral interpretation of the mosaic

The main nuclei of the Domus

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

A small room embellished with marble

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

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

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

The apotheosis of Hercules

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

The senses tell the massage room

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

A day of hunting at the villa