The senses tell the Vestibule

Waiting for the Dominus

The anticipation of the arrival of an authoritative figure, perhaps the dominus of the late antique villa, can be read in the faces and actions of the characters depicted in the central mosaic of this official room, through which we enter the heart of the residence. The bright flame of the torch held by the lampadarius seems to invite us to take part in an important ceremony, also underlined by the presence of a laurel branch held by the young man. They are all neatly arranged, dressed in richly decorated clothes. The scene is so realistic that the mosaicists even depicted their shadows reflected on the ground!

Voices that take shape

Doesn’t it feel like you can hear what the laurel-wreathed young man holding the diptych is declaiming or reciting? There is a burst of colours and hymns. Look…everyone turns their heads slightly to the right, and the sound of horses’ hooves approaching is getting louder and louder. Was Dominus about to enter his residence?

Aromas for ceremonies

The smell of candles must have wafted through the atmosphere of the vestibule, mixed with the aroma of the laurel branches and plant crowns that encircled the heads of all the characters represented!  Looking at the southern wall, we can now just make out, a short distance from the floor, the shoes of an armed figure who was originally flanked by other guards. Our minds take us back in time to that solemn moment when even the pervading smell of the metal of numerous umbrellas mingled with the acrid smell of wax and plant essences.

Precious clothes for an important event

The welcoming ceremony involved wearing appropriate clothing for the occasion. It was an important form of homage and even the clothes had to express the official character through the richness of the fabric, cotton and silk materials from the East. The decorations, orbicles and clubs, superimposed on the tunics of the characters, were embroidered with silver, copper and gold threads.

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

The senses tell the monumental entrance

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

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

The senses tell the frigidarium

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

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

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

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

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

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

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

A day of hunting at the villa

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

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

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

An eloquent symbol: the signum

The possible celebration of a solemn event

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

A small room embellished with marble

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

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

The protagonists of the mosaics

The catalogue of animals

The senses tell the Basilica

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

A hidden meaning

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

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

Semi-public rooms

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

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

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

The apotheosis of Hercules

The rural sacrifice

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

Outdoor breakfast

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

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

Form of greeting or ritual?

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

Worship of the Lares

The main nuclei of the Domus

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

The Latifundium

The senses tell the massage room

The public and private rooms of the villa

The senses tell the Vestibule

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