Sacred Landscape

Hadrian’s villa, or Villa Adriana in Italian, the second UNESCO world heritage site located in Tivoli, was the greatest Roman example of an Alexandrian garden, recreating a sacred landscape. The name is misleading. If you are picturing a fancy house, don’t. The complex included palaces, several thermae, theatre, temples, libraries, state rooms, and quarters for courtiers, praetorians, and slaves. The villa shows echoes of many different architectural orders, mostly Greek and Egyptian. Hadrian was a well traveled emperor.

All photographs © Sabina

The Current State of Hadrian’s Villa

Many beautiful artifacts have been unearthed and restored at the Villa, such as marble statues of Antinous, Hadrian’s deified lover, accidentally drowned in Egypt, and mosaics from the theatre and baths. A lifelike mosaic depicted a group of doves around a bowl, with one drinking, seems to be a copy of a work by Sosus of Pergamon as described by Pliny the Elder. It has in turn been widely copied. Many copies of Greek statues (e.g. the Wounded Amazon) have been found, and even Egyptian-style interpretations of Roman gods and vice versa. Most of these have been taken to Rome for preservation and restoration, and can be seen at the Musei Capitolini or the Musei Vaticani. – Wikipedia

Various structures within the Hardian’s villa complex, such as the Maritime Theatre, are currently (May 2015) being restored.


Often a painter, sometimes a writer, always an artist and currently a traveler.

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