Sacellum Larum

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

A votive aedicula at the center of attention

Today, only the mosaic floor and part of the walls remain of this room, but originally its structure resembled the form of a small temple. It was, in fact, the sacred place of the late antique residence, where the Lares were worshipped, ancestors who became protective deities of the family. Every morning there was a real ritual, in the early hours of the morning, as soon as the dominus and his family woke up after the quiet of the night. If we went back in time, we would see the servants presenting the owner of the villa with offerings to be placed inside the lararium, in front of a flame that lit up the representations of the deified ancestors, guarantors of the continuity and well-being of the familia. Symbols of good luck, such as the ivy leaf, also stand out in the centre of the floor mosaic!

The echo of the ritual

Because of its location close to the Vestibule, in the public path through the Peristyle, the small apsidal chamber was immersed in the echo of the voices of those walking inside the long colonnaded portico during the day. Only during the ceremony held in the presence of the dominus, when the late antique villa came to life at the first light of day, could the ritual prayer that accompanied the votive offering to the ancestors, protectors of the familia, be heard. It was accompanied by the soothing sound of water gushing from the large fountain in the garden.

Incense and votive gifts

The smell of incense and other aromatic substances that were burned during the votive offering mingled with the scent coming from the lush vegetation of the garden behind the small temple. In the worship that took place within the domestic walls, the offering usually consisted of a foodstuff, which could be smelled because of its nature, which also followed the seasonal production of the latifundium surrounding the Roman Villa del Casale.

A representative place embellished with marble

The small aedicula, dedicated to the worship of the Lares, was filled with terracotta, bronze or silver representations of the ancestors of the dominus‘ family. Even today, we can still recognise the remains of the marble slabs that covered its walls, underlining the representative role of this place, aimed at the self-celebration of the owner of the late antique residence and his lineage.

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

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

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

Semi-public rooms

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

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

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

A small room embellished with marble

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

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

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

Outdoor breakfast

Worship of the Lares

Form of greeting or ritual?

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

A day of hunting at the villa

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

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

The possible celebration of a solemn event

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

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

An eloquent symbol: the signum

The apotheosis of Hercules

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

The public and private rooms of the villa

The senses tell the massage room

The main nuclei of the Domus

The senses tell the Basilica

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

The protagonists of the mosaics

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 senses tell the Vestibule

The catalogue of animals

The Latifundium

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

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

The rural sacrifice

A hidden meaning

The senses tell the frigidarium

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

The senses tell the monumental entrance