Quadrangular Peristyle

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

A spectacular colonnade

This long porticoed corridor is really wide and leads to all the rooms of the central core of the villa. Its architecture is very scenic and consists of thirty-two tall columns with an Attic base and Corinthian capitals. It has a courtyard in the centre and a large fountain with three basins which, in late antiquity, must have cooled down those who walked through it. Those who went to the official rooms of the villa, but also to the private rooms reserved for the dominus and his family, could not escape the gaze of the protomes of wild animals that animate the floor of the Peristyle on three sides. Even today, it seems to be a rich representation of all the exotic animal species known in the Empire.

rumour mill

Can you hear the conversations between the people who, at the beginning of the 4th century AD, went to the various rooms of the Peristyle? Listen … the guards with their large, circular, colourful shields, represented in the official route, seem to come to life and pervade the entire room with a dull metallic noise. So many voices overlap…
The clientes who come to the Basilica engage in conversations with each other about the latifundium, while the servants share instructions for everything to be set up in the master’s flats. Hear … the melodic sound of a zither in the Hall of Orpheus mingles with the interplay of water produced by the sculptures adorning the large fountain in the centre of the garden.


The great Peristyle must have been pervaded by a multitude of different scents. From the kitchen, albeit more hidden than the other spaces of the late antique residence facing the porticoed corridor, the sweet fragrance of bread dipped in wine, fruit and cheese announced the ientaculum, breakfast. Imagine this long corridor, crowded with servants in charge of the rooms, the cubiculari, who travelled with oils and essences to the cubicula, the bedrooms, to say good morning to their masters. The crackling of the fire could be heard from somewhere, feeding the oil lamps for a short time. A few steps and you were immersed in the viridarium, enriched with plants that gave off pleasant aromas.

A cold marble for a warm welcome

The long colonnade of this large quadrangular space has mostly grey granite shafts with attic-type white marble bases. The corner columns, on the other hand, are made of breccia di Settebassi. The white marble capitals of Corinthian order, with the lightness and elegance of their acanthus leaves, were designed to support a marble lintel, itself used to support for the pitched roofs.

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

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

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

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

An eloquent symbol: the signum

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

The possible celebration of a solemn event

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

The senses tell the frigidarium

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

The senses tell the Vestibule

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

A day of hunting at the villa

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

A small room embellished with marble

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

A hidden meaning

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

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

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

The public and private rooms of the villa

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

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

Worship of the Lares

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

Form of greeting or ritual?

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

Semi-public rooms

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

The Latifundium

Outdoor breakfast

The protagonists of the mosaics

The senses tell the monumental entrance

The rural sacrifice

The apotheosis of Hercules

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

The senses tell the Basilica

The catalogue of animals

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

The senses tell the massage room

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

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

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

The main nuclei of the Domus

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

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

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

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa