Hadrian, Roman Emperor in the early 2nd century CE, was an avid traveler and preferred to stay outside Rome for his shaky relationship with the Senate. He constructed the Villa Adriana some 30 kilometres from the city. He wanted to incorporate elements of buildings he had seen on his many travels, and this is what makes the complex so special. Hadrian was not only the emperor, but also architect, and he personally designed the buildings after examples from Egypt, Greece and other countries of the Roman Empire. All in all, the Villa Adriana is nothing short of a large imperial palace.
Hadrian took great effort to preserve the buildings as they were. To accomplish this, he constructed underground tunnels for transportation, thus leaving the buildings on the ground level intact. Nowadays, it is difficult to appreciate the beauty of the Villa Adriana, since a lot of buildings lie in ruins or have simply disappeared. Thus, the complex seems to be open, you can see through buildings which in Hadrian's time were still intact. Still, walking around the complex is rewarding. You enter at the Poikile or Pecile, based on Greek Stoa Poikile or painted colonnade, with a large pool, used for banquets in Hadrian's time.
From here, you can visit the remains of the baths, the Canopus and the temple of Serapis, with copies of the Caryatides as found on the Acropolis in Athens. the famous Maritime Theatre where Hadrian is said to have retreated during depressions, the guest houses or Hospitalium with their mosaics on the floor, various temples among which the Temple of Venus. Furthermore, strolling around the complex will make you realize how many more things are still underground, and gives you a good feeling of the size of this complex.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Villa Adriana (Italy). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Villa Adriana.
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