March marks the beginning of several important exhibitions in Rome,…
Villa Adriana, a UNESCO Heritage Site since 1999, continues to marvel generations that come to pass 20 centuries after it was built. On return from Egypt & Greece, Emperor Hadrian decided to make a retreat villa (from the chaotic city of Rome) similar to the architecture and worship that he learnt in the eastern section of his empire.
At the end of his reign, Hadrian had his quarters in this impressive villa of 1 sq km. There were various edifices including theatres, Greek and Latin libraries, two bathhouses, formal gardens with fountains, statues, pools, underground for servants, extensive housing for guests and the palace staff.
Today, the villa located 25 km north east of Rome, is nothing but ruins of what was once the glamour of its time.
Little remains of the original villa, because materials were reused to make Villa D’Este in the area, looted by barbarians or civilians and neglected for centuries. Though,16th century excavations brought to life parts of the villa, still large section remains unearthed.
The various sections of the complex recovered in part are: Hall of Doric Pillars (basilica), Temple of Venus, Greek Theatre, Maritime Theatre (Hadrian’s small favorite island), Hall of Philosophers (library), Heliocaminus (baths), Nymphaeum Stadium, Poecile (large garden with swimming pool), Canopus (god Serapis sanctuary with 119 m long canal decorated with statues), Large and Small Thermae (hot & cold baths) and Piazza d’Oro (formal dinning room).