The Presence of Absence
Adriana Giorgis Undergraduate Thesis - University of Virginia
Giannutri Ce sont les sentiers poussiéreux, les rochers majestueux Une nature luxuriante qui reprend ses droits Ce sont de longues après-midi, des soirs de chaude mélancolie Passés auprès de toi Ce sont les dalles rouges chauffées par le soleil Ce sont de petites habitations, toutes d’ocre et de vermeil Ce sont le clapotis des vagues et le chant des sirènes Ce sont les courses folles dans le sillon des flots En zodiac, en kayak ou bien même à la nage Ce sont les éclats de voix qui jaillissent du port Ce sont les habitués qui bronzent de tout leur corps Ce sont la manière de rendre ses hommages En plongeant pour poursuivre le traghette à la nage Ce sont parfois ces orages qui nous laissent pantois Et qui se chargent de nous rappeler qu’ici bas Nous ne pesons pas lourd dans l’harmonie du monde Il y a là toute l’énergie du soleil Et toute la douceur des heures paresseuses Anne Charlotte Peltier
Historical Background I. Typology
A. Villa Rustica B. Evolution of the Villa Rustica C. Villa Marittima D. Villa Geography E. Villa Marittima classifications F. Villa Domitia
15 16 18 20 22 26 30
A. General Overview B. Giannutri
II. Academic Documentation
Cultural Landscape I. Sites traceability II. Site selection III. Itinerary IV. Research media
40 42 44 46
I. Vision II. Material selection III. Sites IV. Virtual Reality Model V. Exhibit furniture VI. Exhibit extras VII. Reflection
51 53 56 136 138 140 142
Design I. Cultural landscape: design proposition I.The case of Villa Domizia II. Design strategy
148 150 153
III. Ruins of the future and future of the ruins.
A. Restrooms B. Museum C. Tower
Presentation This volume is a collection and documentation of one of the most extensive, and yet forgotten, cultural landscapes in Italy: Villa Marittimas. The most enduring remnants of earlier civilizations are our shelters. As such, they provide evidence and insight into the lifestyles, values, and organizations of cultures in our past. If we consider the globe as a multi-layered foundation of ruins of shelters and dwellings, each referencing their distinctive generations in the past and present, then we can begin to isolate layers according to the century in which they were produced. These layers formed at the origin of history as snippets of information - merely a number of scattered dots. Over time, these layers have multiplied and accumulated to the present layer - a full, complete circle. This research looks at the particular layers dated between the first century B.C. and the third century A.D., focusing on the non-urban coastal dwellings of modern day Tuscany and Lazio. The selected dwellings have survived the onslaughts of time and emerge today as ruins, albeit as fragmented images; despite being produced in the same era and subjected to the same location, politics, and fame, they now appear before us at very different conditions of preservation. This volume, like the information it presents, is structured in a fragmentary manner to emulate and analyze the pieced information gathered through the three lenses of Architectural History, Historic Preservation
and Arts Administration. First, I seek to understand the ruins in their original context and function. Second, I analyze the fragments, taking into account the previous twenty centuries endured. Finally, the fragments begin to illustrate their importance in the scattered cultural landscape of coastal Villa Marittimas. Thus, they should be perceived as one single subject with several chapters rather than individual sites. The Villa Domitia, on the Island of Giannutri, was the catalyst for this entire research because it holds a strong personal and emotional value, and I have witnessed its exponential deterioration over the course of my lifetime. Due to the breadth of the subject, this volume tackles twenty sites that are contextually related to the Villa Domitia. I invite you to take the time to peruse the glossary prior to reading further into this research. This initial step is critical to understanding the extent to which the Roman civilization generated a robust vocabulary pertaining to the development of different spaces and architectural elements, thereby forming a social and financial symbology of spaces through language.
Glossary Ala: Side passages to the right and left of the atrium, originally waiting rooms.
Ambulatio: Terrace for promenade or exercise. Ambulacrum: Corridor.
Andron: Rooms reserved for men, particularly for dining. Anta: Pilaster terminating the lateral walls of a temple (cella) or piers framing opening.
Apodyterium: Changing room of a bath building. Artifices: Artifacts.
Atrium: Entrance hall of an Etruscan Style domus between the entrance passage (fauces) and the tablinium.
Atriolum: Small atrium/antechamber. Aula: Great hall. Asiatica luxuria: Phenomenon throughout Rome in the late-re-
publican period following several war victories in the east. It consists in following the lifestyle, taste and luxury of the Hellenic and Oriental rulers.
Balneum: Public or private bath building of ordinary scale (different from thermae).
Biclinium: Technically a dining couch for two people, but also used of a dining room.
Caementa: Irregular pieces of stone or brick used as aggregate in Roman concrete (see Opus caementitium)
Cal(i)darium: Cenaculum: Clientela: Compluvium:
Hot room or steam room of a Roman bath. Dining room. Clients or dependents of the paterfamilias. Open central portion of the roof of a Roman atrium, above the impluvium.
Comclavium: Oblong closed room for dining or sleeping.
Cryptoporticus: Underground vaulted corridor, often with
oblique lighting through the vault or side of the wall.
Cubiculum: Diaeta: Domina: Dominus: Domus: Exedra:
Bedroom. Living room. Mistress of the house. Master of the house. House Rectangular or semicircular room fully open on one side usually located on the peristyle.
Euripus: Narrow channel, water basin in peristyle garden.
Fauces: Frigidarium: Gens: Gynaeceum: Hortus: Impluvium:
Entryway passage to a house. Cold room of the bath. Extended family of the Paterfamilias. Separate area of the house reserved to women. Garden. Catch basin in the center of the atrium floor to receive water from the compluvium.
Lavapesta: Black cement floor made from crushed lava. Luxuria: Term used to emphasize riotous living and sinful waste.
Materfamilia: Female head of the extended family. Natatio: Swimming pool. Nymphaeum: Decorative fountain or whole room dedicated to a fountain.
Oecus: Reception room often used for dining and entertainment.
Palaestra: Exercise ground used for wrestling, ball games etc.
Pars Fructaria: Quarters for the storage of produce.
Pars Rustica: Pars Urbana: Penates: Peperino:
Productive quarters. Residential quarters. Deities who protect the household. Volcanic stone (tufa) from Alban hills (S-E of Rome).
Peristyle: Inner colonnaded garden court. Piscina: Pool. Used of plunge pools in baths and swimming pools in a palaestra or of fish tanks in private gardens. Pluteus Low wall running between the columns of a peristyle.
Pozzolana: Volcanic sand from Central Italy, found particularly in Campania. Its quick drying properties assisted experiments in dome architecture and underwater constructions (eg: harbors).
Propylon: Projecting entrance gateway. Quadriporticus: Enclosed courtyard with porticoes on all four sides. Tablinium Main reception room of the domus, focal point
of the axis running from the fauces through the atrium.
Quadriporticus: Enclosed courtyard with porticoes on four sides.
OPUS TYPES: Craticium: Waddle and daub construction. Caementicium: Concrete masonry of undressed stones laid in lime, sand and often Pozzolana mortar.
Incertum: Facing irregular small blocks in opus caementicium. Emerged during the second century B.C.
Reticolatum: Facing network of small squared blocks laid in diagonal lines. Successor of opus incertum.
Latericium: Masonry of crude brick. Sectile: Paving or wall veneer of colored marble tiles. Signinum: Concrete floor with inserted fragments of terracotta, stone or marble.
Spicatum: Brick flooring laid in grain ear or herringbone pattern.
Vittatum: Facing combining small tufa or stone blocks alternating with brick courses.
Tesselatum: Mosaic technique employing tesserae of uniform size arranges in regular rows.
Vermicolatum: Mosaic technique employing tiny tesserae
arranged in rows that imitate the brush strokes of painting.
Tepidarium: Warm room of a bath. Tetrastyle Consisting of four columns, often at corners of impluvium.
Thermae: Large public baths distinct from Balnea. Triclinium: Originally a dining room with three banqueting couches. Later principal reception room.
Viridarium: Interior pleasure garden planted with trees and flower beds.
Xystus: Landscaped garden planted with groves of plane trees and flower beds.
1. Floor mosaic with â€œVilla
Rusticaâ€? from Cartagine - Bardo National Museum, Tunisia.
2. Mosaic at Palestrina - National Archaeological Museum of Palestrina
I. Typology Villas, according to Roman definition, began to emerge as an architectural typology in the second century B.C. as non-urban constructions. Ancient literary sources describing this typology are subdivided into two categories: the first comprises the treaties written by agronomists such as Cato the Elder, Varone and Columella who analytically covered Villa Rusticas seeking to illustrate the characters of the Villa Perfecta¹. The second category includes texts of poetic, epistolary, ethical or historical nature in which the Villa, especially the Otium one is cited. Modern literary sources make the distinction between the Villa Rustica and the Villa d’Otium. The Rustica being defined as a ‘Villa-farm’, usually subdivided in either two parts (an extensive pars rustica, and a smaller pars urbana) or three (pars rustica, pars fructuaria and pars urbana). The second one being a luxurious dwelling dedicated to the leisure (otium) of the Roman aristocratic elite. These were usually built on cliffsides or elevated positions enabling panoramic views. Villas dedicated to Otium , also known as Villa Marittima, are distinct in the complexity of their planar organization, characterized by a large pars urbana comprised of very rich wall, floor and sculptural decorations as well as an often present yet much smaller pars rustica. The archeological documentation strongly highlights the composite character of the Roman Villa typology. Even the most luxurious Villas would have specific built
spaces allocated to different forms of animal breeding²: from small courtyard animals (pastio vallica), to the wild animals kept in pens and parks and finally the ichthyic fauna kept in fisheries. All villas were split into two partes, what serves as the main factor of differentiation is the proportion of agricultural productivity to otium. The beginnings of the ‘Roman Villa’ type aren’t distinctly discernible. The type of construction is part of a long evolutionary process deemed specific to the Roman population, unlike any other ancient civilization. To comprehend the processes from which the Otium Villa developed it is necessary to backtrack to the typology of Villa Rusticas which relied on a slave-based system and which has been the object of deeper studies over time³.
1. Romizzi L., Ville d’Otium
dell’Italia antica, Università degli studi di Perugia. pp29 2. Mielsch H., La Villa Romana, Firenze 1990 (Translated from Die Römishe Villa Architektur und Lebensform, Munchen 1987) 3. Carandini A., Excavations of Villa di Settefinestre, Una Villa schiavistica nell’etruria romana, La Villa nel suo insieme. pp196
A.Villa Rustica 1. Kehoe, D.P. Investment, Profit and Tenancy. The Jurists of Roman Agrarian Economy. Ann Arbor. 1997. 2. Cicero, De Officiis 1.151 3. A. Marzano, Roman Villas in Central Italy, a Social and Economic History, 2007, pp85. 4. Clemente G. “Le leggi sul lusso e la società romana tra III e II secolo a.C.” in Società romana e produzione schiavistica. Modelli etici, diritto e trasformazioni sociali. pp.1-14 5. Morley N. ‘Markets, Marketing and the Roman Elite’ in Lo Cascio 2000, p. 211-221. And J.H.D’Arms ,Commerce and social standing in Rome, Cambridge (Mass) 1981. 6.A. Marzano, Roman Villas in Central Italy, a Social and Economic History, 2007, pp86. 7. Purcell “The roman Villa of Villa and landscapeof production” Urban society in central Italy. London 1995. pp151-179 8. A. Marzano, Roman Villas in Central Italy, a Social and Economic History, 2007, pp96 9. Ibid., pp91
In ancient sources, the country Villa signified a privileged place among ideological constructions of the Roman elite. Land-owning and agriculture were considered the ultimate and well-regarded sources of income for Roman senators¹. Agriculture was socially respectable and generally considered a sound economic investment, especially when compared to the unreliability of commerce ². Literary evidence highlights rural villas as places to cultivate the mind as well as the fields. Ancient authors Cato, Varro, and Columella wrote extensively on agriculture to the members of the elite, essentially conceptualizing the moral superiority of farming over other activities³. Characteristics of the ideal villa, as explained in the agronomists’ recommendations, are based on location, orientation and layout. The authors note the evident evolution from relatively modest villas to larger mansions consisting of the pars urbana, pars rustica and the pars fructuaria⁴. The writings offer a perspective into what appearance and activities were deemed appropriate conduct for a wealthy landowner⁵. One common element the writers refer to is the critique of lavish villas refraining from agricultural ventures, thereby remaining unproductive and impractical: inutilis⁶. Initially, Villa rusticas had a higher market value than Villa Marittimas due to their profitability. As the empire grew, the habits of the elite shifted to the practice of otium, or leisure, and the rural Villa became
a compromise between the social practices of otium and the daily life on a farm. As such, Villa architecture designs tended to include multi-purpose rooms - say, a dining room and a storeroom for fruit - that would accommodate both practices. It was still of foremost importance that while the Villa be built extravagantly, it should not impede its utilitas; the goal was to reach an equilibrium between the residence and functional production facilities, or elegantia and utilitas⁷. Since agricultural production was central to the villa’s existence, leisure time also had to be productive and devoted to the exercise of the mind and spirit. Villas housed libraries and porticoed courtyards, alluding to palestrae and to their role in Hellenistic cities as hubs for mental stimulation and physical maintenance⁸. Iconographic media inside the villas would honor and mirror the events at the estate⁹. As a focal point of the ‘landscape of production’ the Villa assumed numerous roles. It was the location where profits were both accumulated and enjoyed: where a landowner might keep assets and documents, but also provide a platform to transact future business in other sectors. The rustic Villa typology developed in distinct regions near Rome: the hills around Fidenae, Tibur and Praeneste became favored sites to own a villa. Areas near Rome were highly valued because they could be reached by a short trip, making a short stay more practical.
8 11 12
Villa Rustica at Boscoreale - Ist century A.D. Above 2-5: Familyâ€™s rooms. 1. Triclinium 2. Bakery 3. Baths 4. Kitchen 5. Cow shed 6. Yard
7. Room for pressing grapes 8. Fermenting yard 9. Servants rooms 10. Oil pressing rooms 11. Barn 12. Threshing rooms
Image: Unknown artist. Reconstruction of the Villa at Boscoreale. Image from Wikimedia Commons.
B. Evolution of the Villa Rustica 1. Carandini A. L’anatomia della scimmia. La formazione economica della societa prima della capitale, Torino, 1979, pp 196.
2. Torelli M. La formazione della Villa , in Storia di Roma II, 1, Torino, pp 123-132 3. Examples of 'Villa Catonianas' have been found in Lazio, Campania (Villa Regina, Villa della Pisanella), in Northern Etruria (Villa di Blera) and in Puglia.
The documentation of the evolution of the Villa Rustica with a slave-based model is based on the publications of A. Carandini and M. Torelli who explained that the developmental process of this specific type lies within the peculiar socio-economic context within which it grew. Carandini underlines the importance of models derived from the Punic and Siceliot worlds as influence to the construction techniques and layout which is directly dependent on a particular model of production based on slavery, only made possible by the large influx of slaves after the Punic Wars¹. Torelli instead highlights the strong similarity and continuity between the ‘slave Villas’ described by Cato the elder and the Mid-Republican farms of the fourth century B.C.². Torelli demonstrates how the genesis of the ‘Villa Catoniana’ is situated in the third and second centuries B.C., times in which Rome conquered Italy and paved its way to becoming the hegemon city of the Mediterranean³. Thus the Villa type isn’t the fruit of a sudden discovery of a productive model but rather the slow product of iterations spread along three centuries in which the traditional elements and external events have reached a saturated solution. Torelli also highlights a second shaping wave: the catalysts to the acceleration of the development of the construction type due to the crisis of proprietary assets in Rome and all of Italy as well as the Second Punic war
which provoked a radical shift in the Roman economy. With the victories across the whole Mediterranean following 186 B.C., a large influx of slaves boosted the economy through the cheap and abundantly available labor force. This latter fact is confirmed in the lack of evidence of slave-based Villas before the middle of the second century B.C.. Torelli finally supports his argument through the growing economic impact of foreign conquests as well as the introduction of luxuria. Hence, whereas Carandini argues the direct influence the Punic wars had on the Villa owners as new ways of utilising construction methods as well as workforce, Torelli argues for a slower evolution influenced in part by the sudden change in wealth and available workforce within the Empire.
Expansion of Rome in the Mediterranean World 265-44 B.C.
Roman territory Territory added Territory added Territory added Territory added Territory added
265 B.C. 265-238 B.C. 238-201 B.C. 201-133 B.C. 133-60 B.C. 60-44 B.C.
Image: Map of the Expansion of Rome in the Mediterranean world from 265 to 44 B.C.. New York State Archive. NYSA_A304578_A7886
C.Villa Marittima 1 Romizzi L., Ville d’Otium dell’Italia antica, Università degli studi di Perugia. pp37. 2. E. De Albentiis, La casa dei Romani, Milano 1990 pp 107 3. E. La Rocca, Le tranquille dimore, 1986, pp 8. 4. Ibid.. 5. Mansuelli Le Ville del Mondo Romano, Milano 1958. And Percival The Roman Villa a Historical Introduction, London 1976. 6. F. Coarelli Architettura sacra e architettura privata nella tarda repubblica, dai modelli ellenistici alla tradizione repubblicana. 1996 7. H. Jucker, Vom Verhaltnis des Romer zur bildeden Kunst der Griechen, 1950, pp 87.
Soon after the conclusion of the second Punic war in the first quarter of the second century B.C., Rome conquered a large part of the eastern lands on the Mediterranean, coming in direct contact with the Hellenic world. As previously mentioned, the victory boosted the Roman slave economy but also provided a very rich booty of GrecoAsian artifices and precious objects looted from sanctuaries and public buildings in the conquered cities¹. At this time the term luxuria was coined and began to gain relevance within several first hand sources. The Hellenic collision with the Roman world had an important impact especially in the upper parts of the Roman social hierarchy, spreading the fashion of “living like the Greeks”². The Roman world faced for the first time the architecture of power, particularly one typology of structure which was very predominant in the Greek world: the Palazzo, both the peristyle typology and the pavilions one. This monumental typology was characterized by an extremely rich decorative apparatus, symbol of power and wealth but especially of a luxurious lifestyle. Defined by very large peristyles, the Hellenic layout quickly became incorporated into fundamental spaces of domestic Roman architecture in the late-antique period of the Empire. With the abundant booty from the East, the Roman duces began to compete in the construction of sumptuous public buildings, symbols of their power³.
Meanwhile the Roman aristocracy quickly transitioned to luxurious dwellings as well as adapted to the Hellenic lifestyle, displaying the enormous wealth accrued in battles through architectural plans inspired by the Greek peristyles. The first expressions of this new level of wealth was applied to the urban domus, though it soon became condemned both politically and morally by society for the scandalous display of wealth at the heart of the capital⁴. Thus Rome’s aristocracy exported the luxurious decorations and furnishings in the ‘extra-urban’ setting, giving life to a new architectural style: the Villa dedicated to Otium⁵. Hence the first half of the second century B.C. represents a major milestone in the genesis of the slave-based villas, it is the moment in which the typology of the Otium Villa was shaped, giving life to the epoch of Asiatica Luxuria. The engineers of the first Otium villas followed the Hellenic model for plans and decorative apparatus shaping the structures with traditional Roman elements, thus creating a new Hellenic-Roman style⁶. By giving the architecture a strong Hellenic resemblance, the engineers and their patrons sought to associate the Roman aristocracy to that of the Greeks, as well as to align with the philosophical Hellenic concepts of otium opposed to negotium (business)⁷. This monumental architecture would have been an impressive view from the sea. For instance, for those residing on
islands and accessible solely by the sea, the seafront facade was paramount⁸. Literature and paintings from the epoch allude to the prevalent physical mobility the upper class exercised between estates and areas, preferably by sea. Villa Marittimas accommodated for lavish festivities and highly productive trading of social capital. Peers, friends, and clientes gathered for dinners, were hosted for sojourns along lengthy travel routes, and provided platforms for market interactions, political meetings, and status-seekers⁹. Furthermore, Villa location and surrounding density was equally telling. Increased density indicated higher desirability and stronger networks of commerce, both of which were exhibited in selective settlement patterns¹⁰. Geographically the typology began to emerge primarily in Central Italy, in two key regions: Campania (within the area of the Gulf of Naples) and the coastal lands of Lazio and later along the coasts of Tuscany. Despite the Marittimas’ notorious reputation for excess consumption, extravagance, and debauchery relative to Rusticas, evidence is mounting that economic enterprises were an extremely important aspect of these structures. Although previously regarded as futile explorations of research until recently, ancient sources are suggesting that Maritimas proved to be significant sources of revenue through fisheries on site. The fishing itself was seldom
lucrative, however, property values increased according to their costly locations. As Varro would explain: “the maritime fisheries of the noble are made to content the eyes rather than the purse, and they empty the owner’s pockets rather than filling them.”¹¹ Ultimately, this expression of privilege is far more complex than meets the eye; Villa Maritimas had greater access to the distribution of goods by sea, could exploit economic opportunities more than Rusticas, and were far more adept at establishing monopolies over harbours and connected regions.¹²
8. A. Ducellier, La facade maritime de l'Albanie au Moyen Age, Thessaloniki, 1981. 9 .Alexander G. , McKay. Houses, Villas and Palaces in the Roman World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. 10. Piccareta, Forma Italianae, astura, I.13, Rome 1977 11. Varro Rust. 3.17.3: “Illae autem aritimae piscinae nobilum [...] magis ad oculos pertinent, quam aad vesicam, et potius marsippium domini exinaniunt, quam implent”. 12. A. Marzano, Roman Villas in Central Italy, a Social and Economic History, 2007, pp47.
Image: Reconstruction drawing of Villa Pollio Felice by Francesco Corni.
D.Villa Geography I. Strategic regional placement 1. Potter, T.W., Roman Italy. London, 1987 p.114. 2. A. Marzano, Roman Villas
in Central Italy, a Social and Economic History, 2007, pp155
3. X. Lafon Villa Marittima, rechereches sue les villas littorales de l'Italie Romaine, BEFAR 307, 2000. 4.R. Thomas and A.I. Wilson
Water supply for Roman farms in Latium and South Etruria" PBSR 62, 1994, pp141.
5. C. Brouillardd and J. Gadyene,
La Villa Romana del Piano della Civita in Brandt duprés Raventòs and Ghini, 2003, pp 61-64.
6. X. Lafon Villa Marittima, rechereches sue les villas littorales de l'Italie Romaine, BEFAR 307, 2000. 7. G. Ciampoltrini, Il diverticolo dall Aurelia al Ports Telamonus : un contributo per la tecnica stradale dell etruria costiera ATTA 2, 1994, pp 179
According to T.W. Potter, the geographical distribution of villas in Italy was determined by several important factors: the convenience of various locations, the fertility of the land, and the proximity to other kinds of commerciallyviable natural resources¹. For example, villas near Massa Carrara were all owned by a number of long-lasting quarry-owning families. The existence of a good transportation infrastructure was another major factor for determining the distribution of villas. Having access to roads, harbors, rivers, or the ocean was vital for their respective uses. Proper infrastructure was key to accessing the Villa quickly and easily, especially during its construction when materials and labor had to be transported to the site². Land and sea travel inevitably established a pattern of settlement along major commercial roads, rivers, and littorals³. Yet another consideration for Villa location was an availability of a reliable water supply. Although rain water was collected in cisterns, other sources of water were preferred, especially for bath houses and nympheas⁴. Water was provided by tapping natural springs, or aquifers, through underground channels but also through the connection to aqueducts. Geology was heavily accounted for, since the source of the water supply was dictated by the hydrology of the area. In several cases, the city provided public aqueducts which would then be extended to reach the villas. It was highly desirable to own a Villa near an aqueduct in order to
take advantage of an unregulated water supply.⁵ Another factor included the proximity to imperial residences. The vicinity of an imperial seat immediately implied improved infrastructure conditions and maintenance - roads and water supply - while also having access to a wider variety of produce and merchants in the area. In this case, a high number of elite villas would cluster around the imperial seat in order to sustain crucial political and social connections⁶. Finally, although the role of infrastructure and vicinity to imperial dwellings were critical considerations to the determination of the geographical distribution of villas, the topographical pattern must also be considered in relationship to social and economic symbiosis. In the geographical areas of Tuscany and Lazio, (areas of focus for this research) large villas belonging to Roman elites tended to be concentrated in areas surrounding urban centers, highlighting the socio-economic relationship between these socially and politically influential villas to the economic centers they are adjacent to. The available body of sources has placed a large emphasis on the connection between the countryside/coastal areas and Rome as the epicenter of power and economic consumption⁷. Recent studies have looked at a large sample of villas in the attempt to reorient them in their topographical and economic contest, revealing a close relationship between the villas and their neighboring urban centers.
Roman Villa sites in Lazio and Tuscany Ist century B.C. - 2nd century A.D.
II. Road Networks 1. E. Migliario, Uomini, terre e strade. Aspetti dell'Italia centroappeninica frà Antichità e Medio Evo. Florence 1995 pp 130.
2. A. Marzano, Roman Villas in Central Italy, a Social and Economic History, 2007, pp157 3. X. Lafon Villa Marittima, rechereches sue les villas littorales de l'Italie Romaine, BEFAR 307, 2000. 4.M. Valenti, Forma Italiae 4.1. Ager Tusculanus. Florence, 2003, pp 57.
Image: Map of the seaside settlements By Lanciani 1903, cit. to note 5. , tabXIII, fig. 3
The establishment of an adequate network of roads was a fundamental prerequisite to the dissipation of villas in a select geographical area. A recent study shows that all the large Villa remains that were discovered in the territory of ancient Trebula Mutuesca were located along the slopes of the Via Salaria, with diverticula connecting the villas to the main road¹. All the major villas identified were located no more than two or three miles from the Via Salaria itself. The proximity to a major road was not just a matter of convenience for reaching one’s villa; rather, it was key for shipping the villa’s supplies and production to and from the markets. The villas near Cosa display this fact clearly, and in their direct relationship to the urbs’ harbor from which a large portion of the region’s wine was produced and shipped to the rest of the empire. Although the vineyards were located in the countryside, villas served as the liaison for economic and diplomatic transactions². Access to routes was also especially critical in terms of communication methods. There are several instances of privately-funded infrastructure projects, such as bridges, by the owners of elite-level property³. The distribution of villas followed the pre-existing conditions of the roads built by the government, but as the number of villas increased so did the number roads, thereby creating a thinner network of private passages within the military and commercial routes⁴.
III. Harbors The proximity of a good harbor near a maritime estate was essential. All coastal villas possessed a harbor or direct access to one, or at the very least to the water. Most made use of natural coves, which was a preferred option, or built docks to allow for the mooring of vessels. Constructed docks sufficed for the transportation of people to and from the villas but could not usually handle distributing goods to important commercial markets¹. If the production of the Villa was oriented towards the shipment of considerable surplus to markets far away, proximity to a harbor was a necessity. One example was the harbor of Cosa, whose role was pivotal in the shipment of wine produced in the inland villas to international markets and provinces.² Members of the elite played a large role in the creation of a network of harbors along the Italian coast. Their investments involved constructing new harbors, in addition to renovating, expanding, and developing the land near their properties. Proximity to road networks and harbors proved to be a matter of convenience, but especially economics, and influenced Villa distribution greatly. Emperors took great care when building harbors, and Villa constructions would erupt consequently, creating hubs for social, economic, and political benefits³. These moves were catalysts for economic development in specific areas, that would grow in importance and exclusivity throughout the following centuries.
Lastly, the creation of this important network of harbors provided an increased sense of security against marine conflicts. The Roman navy was ensured accommodation and funding at the maritime villas and from their owners⁴. This served as interspersed bases of refuge along the coasts of the empire, even constituting as watchtowers for the coast. There have been several recorded cases and accounts in which a maritime conflict was won because of the stability and access to resources that a naval base was able to muster at a coastal villa⁵.
1. A Ziccardi in Lo Cascio , Mercati permanenti e mercati periodici del Mondo Romano. Torino, 2000, pp 142
2. A.M. McCann et al. The roman port and Fishery of Cosa. Princeton, 1987. 3. X. Lafon Villa Marittima, rechereches sue les villas littorales de l'Italie Romaine, BEFAR 307, 2000. 4.A. Marzano, Roman Villas in Central Italy, a Social and Economic History, 2007, pp25 5. N. Purcell, "The Roman Villa and the landscape of production" in T. Cornell and K. Lomas Urban Society in Roman Italy, London 1998, pp 151.
Image: Fresco of Villa Marittima found in Pompei. House of M. Lucretius.
E.Villa Marittima - Classifications
1. The Hellenic types
The following system of classification is derived from Lucia Romizzi, Ville dellâ€™Italia Antica , Universita degli studi di Perugia.
Peristyle type The site can be rectangular or semisquared. Spaces are arranged on the sides of a central peristyle although there are cases with two to three peristyles. The residential, thermal and social spaces of the Villa open into peristyle. Differently from the Hellenic model which arranged rooms centripetally, the Roman version sought an axial connection between the vestibule and the dining room (tablinum) with the peristyle in between.
Villa di Bolsena.
Pavilions type Most common type, especially on islands. Its plan revolves around structures (pavilions) of each of different sizes, purposes, and style either alternated by gardens or located on different terraces. It is a very flexible type and it is also the least well-preserved group, hence making it difficult to understand the purpose of the different spaces.
m 40 0
Tetrapyrgos The last model has a closed plan similar to the peristyle one (of which it can be considered a variation) but with squared towers at the four corners of the central courtyard. Residential, productive and service spaces are all organised around the peristyle with each side representing one function. It is one of the first models adopted for Otium villas.
Mazara del Vallo
2. The Romano-Italic type Atrium and Hortus type This model presents an axial sequence from vestibule-faucesatriumÂŹ-tablinum-hortus. It is a progressive of different spaces (sometimes shorter versions of the sequence) all tied in by one single axis from the Atrium to the Hortus. Archeologically this fixed plan model is found in the areas round the Vesuvius, close to Fregene as well as in the area of Cosa. Chronologically the villas closely abiding to the model seem to emerge in the end of the fourth century B.C. and the trend dies out by the beginning of the first century B.C.. Of the two defining elements of this model the atrium is the space carrying the heavier ideological values of the domus, through its connection to the salutatio, resonating with the key element of elite Roman houses. The hortus is instead attributed to a lower social rank of houses and thus positioned last in the sequence. Two Atriums This rare model is explained by spatial, and/or economic limitations found in both renovated and ex-novo structures within which it was not possible to include a peristyle. The atriums are thus duplicated juxtaposing a tetrastyle and Tuscan atriums. The choice of the tetrastyle atrium is acknowledged as being perceived as a richer than the Tuscan atrium because of the columns. The model is referred to as â€˜indigenousâ€™ as it aesthetically references traditional construction methods and local ideologies on the domus. Nonetheless its scarcity serves as evidence of the very widespread impact of the Hellenic model in the construction of these large extra-urban dwellings which took priority over the values of tradition and local influences.
3. The Integrated types Atrium and Peristyle type The site can be rectangular or semisquared. Spaces are arranged on the axis between the atrium and the peristyle such as : vestibule, fuces, atrium, teblinium, persityle, esedra and panoramic loggia. The spaces outlooking into the atrium are usually the more social ones whereas the spaces onto the peristyle are residential. This layout is only found in situations with strong topographic variations providing distinct views from each part of the villa. Peristyle and Atrium type The site can be rectangular or semisquared, the access introduces the visitor directly into the peristyle, from which is the atrium, placed on the same axis. The residential, thermal and social spaces of the Villa open into the peristyle. Differently from the Hellenic model which arranged rooms centripetally, the Roman version sought an axial connection between the vestibule and the dining room (tablinum) with the peristyle in between. Almost all cases are characterized by the presence of a cryptoporticus ยน
Villa di Mosconio Pollione
Villa dei Misteri
4. The occasional types Frontal hemicycle type The type is composed of two separate buildings in which the facade is in the shape of a hemicycle. The facade is either activated by large niches framed by semicolomns, surmounted by a second order of columns or by a vast panoramic loggia. These hemicycles acted either as an imposing embrace for the arrival from the land or monumental panoramic frames to ocean views. The organization of spaces behind the hemicycle has not been established nonetheless it is clear that the hemicycle provides for a separation of access to different spaces, articulating different circulation paths according to the social level of the person entering.
Wings type The type is composed by two building clusters joined by a central building with a rectangular plan. Consequently the site takes a â€˜Uâ€™ shape and can be framed by a rectangle. The wings, varied in lenght according to the site frame a central open space. Either wing has different programmatic function usually split between social and residential.
Villa di Sirmione
F.Villa Domitia The following information was derived from the report published by the National agency in charge of the cultural patrimony in the Tuscan Region (Soprintendenza per i beni culturali della Toscana) titled Monumenti Antichi dell'Isola di Giannutri. It was redacted by Paola Rendini and published in 2008.
The island of Giannutri is the southernmost part to the Tuscan archipelago, and the second smallest at 2,67 km2. The volcanic island extends towards the northern coasts of Lazio, its detachedness placing it on the natural route between Rome, Sardinia, Corsica, and more broadly, the Western Mediterranean. Despite the island’s geographically strategic position, it also contains several logistical issues. The main concern is the absence of a freshwater source on site, a very rocky coast, and an impervious flora on its calcareous territory. Regardless of these obstacles, most ruins date back to the first century A.D., when the family of the Domitii Ahenobarbi constructed their Otium villa. The Domitii were one of the most important families under Nero and Caesar’s empire, and managed a considerable amount of the empire’s financial transactions. The family’s estate was the only settlement and structure on the island, typical of the Pavilions type, the structure is composed of many distinct and equally impressive terraces scattered along the coast, taking advantage of the island’s qualities and topography. The two main areas are located between the harbours Cala Maestra and Cala dello Spalmatoio, areas that have been built in segmented terraces departing from the Cala Maestra. The first terrace is dedicated to the thermal system and baths, the second to the service spaces, and the utmost terrace is the residential area. The highest, residential terrace is actually composed of a series of terraces, mimicking
its underlying topography, and orienting the building to create plentiful views of the seascape. Altogether, the Villa followed construction patterns and layouts typical to the style of first century great Imperial otium dwellings that satisfied needs for tranquil refuge. The first building phase took place at the end of the first century A.D., although there is evidence of expansions until the start of the second century A.D. This evidence was able to be gathered due to the building techniques implemented, and the dated bricks stamps on the varied latericium.
II. Academic Documentation 1. R. Castell 1728. This attempt to planimetrically reconstruct the villas described by Pliny results ‘arbitrary’ as the ancient writer does not give accurate topographic descriptions rather evokes them on the literary level. 2. F. Zevi , Gli scavi di Ercolano, in
Civilta del 700 a Napoli , 1980 pp58.
3. L. Romizzi, Ville D’Otium dell’ Antica Italia p.14
M. Ruggiero, degli scavi di Stabia dal 1749 al 1782, Napoli 1881
Present excavations and studies of Roman Villas have superseded one another for centuries, and despite loosely following similar research methods, the scope and goals have varied according to the era and the researcher in question. The earliest evidence of these excavations traces back to the fifteenth century, an epoch of repeated investigation into the study of classical antiquity of unearthed Villas located in the suburbs of Rome: such as Villa Adriana in Tivoli. Researchers’ initial interests resulted in devastating effects on the overall sites, considering their approaches prioritized artifact recuperation and neglected proper documentation. Enraptured by the monumental remains of Imperial ruins, researchers overlooked constructions of ostensibly lower importance, such as Villa Rusticas, leaving them relatively untouched. The art retrieved from larger archeological sites included sculptures, mosaics, frescoes, stuccoes, and gems, and developed into symbols of social importance for well-to-do families. Consequently, the sites became prime targets for looting and complexes that had once withstood the ravages of time until the Renaissance were stripped of the art and décor that once adorned them. Irrespective of the large-scale looting, studies concerned with fifteenth century classical antiquity yielded significant testimonies of those ruins through drawings and measurements taken by artists and architects.
Italy then experienced an eruption of political turmoil that lasted throughout the seventeenth century, which produced a dormant phase of collection and study. Once political forces rebalanced in the eighteenth century and major epidemic diseases were mollified, intellectual priorities reverted back to aesthetics and historical studies. In turn, a new wave of looting and documentation occurred and persisted under the lens of antiquarians rather than academics. The ‘Villa of the Ancients’, published in 1728 by Robert Castell, was the first text on Roman Villas and attempted to reconstruct villas described by Pliny the Younger through drawings in his Epistolaes ¹. The discoveries of the archeological sites of Ercolaneum (1738)² and of Pompei (1748) mark the beginning of the study of ancient dwelling structures³. During this time, the military engineers (cavatori) of the Bourbon dynasty were charged to report on the Vesuvian archeological site and remove the most beautiful artifacts. Between 1749 and 1782, the Bourbonic cavatori discovered six luxurious villas at Stabia in the Hills of the Varanno alongside ten villa-farms in the Ager Stabianus – three of which included the famous Villa of Papysuses at Ercolaneum - and two villas in Pompei. Throughout the thirty years of excavations the Bourbonic team recovered and accurately documented the sites, in addition to creating measurable architectural drawings, and afterwards re-buried several sites, where they still remain untouched today⁴.
Other important villas from the rest of Italy’s landscape in the same time period became objects of research: Cicero’s Villa'in Tusculum (1741-1746)⁵, Horace’s Villa in Licenza (mid-eighteenth century) and the Villa Palombara, near Ostia (Lazio), were excavated multiple times in an attempt to'be identified as Pliny the Younger’s famous Villa Laurentina. In the end of the nineteenth century, several other Villas were excavated around Vesuvius and in Tivoli⁶. The second half of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century represent a significant period for new research that was brought forward on the topic of villas from the Roman epoch. On one hand, structures that were already well-known in the fourteenth and fifteenth century become the object of novel investigations that were primarily executed by local researchers⁷. On the other hand, some of the most important villas, especially those located in the suburbs of Rome, were brought to light. The majority of these large complexes have since been destroyed (see Villa Farnesina or the complex of Centocelle⁸) without much documentation, while others have been looted and abandoned, such as the Villa of Livia in Prima Porta⁹. Some information from that epoch is partially published on the “Notizie degli scavi Antichi” and the ‘Bulletin of the archeological commission in Rome’ . Several villas outside of Rome, now unidentifiableion site, are also mentioned in the writingsiof Ashby and Tommasetti on the Roman countryside; these reflect the first proof
of a new academic approach that surveyed archeological landscapes to recreate a clear representation of what was erased by urban development in the Lazio region. Nonetheless, the large numbers of villas recovered between the second half of the nineteenth and the early twentieth century, as well as the increasing documentation of these archeological sites, the only attemptito systematically frame these connected sites 1919 by K.Swoboda’s published work the Römische und Römanische Paläste¹². Theifirst text referring to the classification of Villa typologies that differentiated archeological sites between a ‘closed type’ - concentrated on the peristyle, from the Hellenic-Roman tradition - and an ‘open type’, concentrated on the portico, purely derived from the Hellenic tradition. Between World War I and World WariII, research on archaeological landscapes persevered at a fast pace; new research was conducted on the villas dedicated to otium¹³, resulting in a series of articlesiwritten by .G.Lugli.¹⁴ The 1950s became a decadeiof a vast number of excavations, especially dedicated to the recovery of art pieces (namely in Villa Adriana, Piazza Armerinaiand Sperlonga)¹⁵. At end of the 1950s, G.A. Mansuelli published Le Ville del Mondo Romano¹⁶, a catalogue of Villas in Northern Italy that differentiated between Villa Rusticas and residential villas. In 1959, L. Crema published his studies on Roman architecture, in which he dedicates a brief part to the description of the
5. Ashby 1910:
pp331-32 and Coarelli: 1993 pp 120-121.
6.Vesuvian Villas: Cassio’s Villa
(1773-74, 1779 and 1846). Villa dei Pisoni (1779) and the Villa Jovis (1826) in Capri. Tivoli Villas: the Manlio Vospico (1825), Villa delle Vignacce (1780), and the Palazzo a Mare (1790-1791).
7. For example Sirmione’s Villa. Orti Manara 1856, pp.26 8. Villa Farnesina was discovered
in 1879 (See Moneti 19991, pp91-93)
9.The Villa was identified on site
in 1863 with some exceptional artwork (frescoes and the statue of Augustus) which sparked a wide interest whereas the architectural structures were abandoned.
10. For example Villa of Voconio
Pollione (Marion), discovered in 1880 and Nero’s Villa (Subiaco) excavated in 1883-84.
11. Ashby: The classical topography of the Roman Campagna :1902 Volume I, 1906 Volume III, 1907 volume IV, 1909 (La Villa dei Quintili), 1910 Volume V, 1982 (The Roman Campagna in classical times). And Tomassetti: 1910-1913 (La campagna romana antica, medioevale e moderna, II & III. 12. K.M. Swoboda: Römische und Römanische Paläste Wien, 1919.
13. Desenzano (1921-23), Albano (1923-24), Casal Morena (1929), Licenza (1930), Capri (1932-35), Minori (1932-34), Anguillara Sabazia (1934), Sabaudia (1934), Giannutri (1935), Velletri (193738) and Russi (1938).
14. G. Lugli: 1914: Il teatro della Villa albana di Domiziano in St Rom II pp.21-53, Le antiche Ville dei colli albani prima dell’occupazione Domizianea, in BCom XLII, pp.251-316. 1915: La Villa dei Giordani e i monumenti al III miglio della via Prenestina, in BCom XLIII, pp.136-167. 1917-1920: La Villa di Domiziano sui colli Albani, in BCom. 1923-1924: Note topografiche intorno alle antiche ville suburbane, in BCom LI, pp.3-62. 1926: La Villa Sabina di Orazio, in MonAnt XXXI pp.457-598, Anxur-Terracina. 1927: Studi topografici intorno alle antiche ville suburbane, Villa Adriana una Villa di ata repubblicana inclusa nelle costruzioni imperiali, in BCom LV, pp. 139-204.1928: Ager Pomptinus, Circei. Forma Itliae. 1930: La Villa di Orazio nella valle di Licenza. Studi topografici intorno alle antiche ville suburbane, la Villa di S. Cesareo presso Velletri. 15. A Carandini-M.DeVos-A.Ricci,
Filosofiana La Villa di Piazza Armerina, 1982
16. G. A. Mansuelli, Le Ville del
Mondo Romano, 1958
17. See the examples of Villa Cassana 1978. 18.J. H. D’Arms, Romans on the bay of Naples: A social and cultural study of the Villas and their Owners from 150 B.C. to A.D. 400 Cambridge Mas. 1970
villas under specific chronological criterions. Furthermore, the important contribution of H.Derup (Die Römische Villa) went beyond the typical description of the most famous sites in the Vesuvian area, and describes the first attempt at the research of possible Hellenic models of these structures¹⁷. In the 1970s, the accrued interest in the economic and productive aspects of the ancient world advanced the studies of Villa Rusticas, which was previously considered less luxurious as a typology, and became the subject of small exhibitions. In 1970, J. D’Arms published Romans on the Bay of Naples: A Social and Cultural Study of the Villas and their Owners from 150 B.C. to A.D. 400 ¹⁸ as well as Ville Rustiche e Ville D’Otium in 1979¹⁹. These two were especially noteworthy for their accurate analysis of the ancient literary tradition. D’Arms studied the phenomenon of construction methods of elite residential complexes on the coast of the Campania region, while highlighting the productive aspects of Otium villas, and producing a complete catalogue of the villas located in the Gulf of Naples while citing archeological, literary and epigraphic sources. In 1975, A.G. McKay published Houses, Villas and Palaces in the Roman World, a manuscript which closely examined provincial villas, drawing up planimetrics and compiling an abundant bibliography that tied together several of the dispersed sources. However, it fails to be completely comprehensive as a limited resource for the Italian land since it only
mention’s the country’s most famous sites²⁰. To sum up the information on villas until the late 1970s, most complexes studied were confined to the residential portions rather than focusing on the Rustica, as well as focused on the mobile decorative apparatus rather than the fixed one. Villas were considered symbols of luxury and comfort in the Roman world, wherein the artifacts found were perceived as objects for the taste and richness of the dominus rather than indexes of the chronology and socio-economic context in which they were produced. Another limitation is the tendency to perceive Villa sites as static rather than as evolving through time periods, as if the sites only had one owner versus several generations of different families, compiling the evolution of a structure’s site plan into a single layer of information²¹. The change in quality in terms of characterization as well as documentation took place in the end of the seventies with the studies conducted by the Anglo-Italian team working under C. Carandini in the stratigraphic excavations of the Villa at Settefinestre in the ager Cosanus, presented for the first time in a travelling exhibit in 1979²². The complex at Settefinestre constitutes still today the model for all research on the Roman Villa typology, the system of slave production/ construction and the classes of materials datable between the late Republican and the early Imperial eras²³. The study of the complex also involved a detailed study of Villas on a general level, from their location, their origin,
the characters of the Villa perfecta (based on the agronomic sources) as well as the analysis of the architectural elements constituting a villa. This classification system thus recurred to a socio-economic framing recurring to the functional understanding of the structures only on the smaller scale. In the eighties and nineties archaeologists and historians revered a major interest towards the full picture of the historic landscape of the ancient world, in which villas represent the most studied topic (primary to the study of networks or roads, aqueducts…) . Research has intensified in the form of ‘emergency interventions’ to preserve the natural crumbling of structures as well as the fencing off of archaeological sites to prevent further looting²⁴. These mostly fall under the jurisdiction of the ‘Soprintendenza Archeologica’ a national entity divided by geographical region as well as universities and research institutes governed by Italian but also foreign entities. Presently there has also been a renewed interest in the well known sites such as Villa Adriana in Tivoli and of Piazza Armerina in Sicily in order to frame them in the larger context of historic landscape, studying these complexes in their globality²⁵. Today excavations are still very seldom compared and revered in the totality of their territory, missing out on the opportunity to locate the specific Villas in their topographic and historic context, which foresees the reconstruction of the ancient landscape and its evolution.
21. G.L. Grassigli, La Villa e
il contesto produttivo nel paesaggio della cisalpina in agricoltura e commerci nell Italia Antica. 1995 ,224-25
22. A Carandini - S.Settis, La Villa di Settefinestre, dallo scavo alla mostra, Bari, 1979. 23. A. Giardina - A. Schiavone,
Società romana e produzione schivistica, Bari , 1981 24. P. Di Manzano - G. Messineo- A.R.Stafa. Misurare La Terra, Centuriazione e coloni del mondo Romano, CItta, agricolutra e commercio: materiali da Roma a Suburbio. Exhibition catalogue, Rome, 1985. 25. M.Di Franceschini, Villa Adriana Mosaici, Pavimenti, Edifici, Roma, 1994
II. Academic Documentation - Villa Domitia The following information was derived from the report published by the National agency in charge of the cultural patrimony in the Tuscan Region (Soprintendenza per i beni culturali della Toscana) titled Monumenti Antichi dell'Isola di Giannutri. It was redacted by Paola Rendini and published in 2008.
The Villa Domitia in Giannutri is an exemplary site both in its representation of the average care taken by national entities in charge of its preservation but also in terms of scale compared to the other Villa Marittima ruins on the coasts of Tuscany and Lazio. The first documentation of the archeological site of Giannutri dates back to 1807, wherein under the orders of Onofrio Boni, engineer G. Grazzini was sent to the island under the mission to construct housing and fortifications for a small military base for the war against the privateers. Grazzini drew the first ‘archeological map’ and architectural survey of the remains susceptible to a functional recuperation, today referred to as the ‘Casa Adami’, ‘Cisterns’, and the ‘crypotortico of the Stanze’. The results of the mission were published in 1809 by Boni, whom gave notice of the existence of the monuments to the director of the Gallery of the Uffizi in Florence. The second graphic documentation was drawn by Engeneer F. Francolini in 1864 as part of the project of reclaiming and promotion of re-population of the island as well as the assignment of the Island of Giannutri to the jurisdiction of the territory of the Island of the Giglio. This event was a direct consequence of the unification of Italy by the Garibaldini in 1960. These are still today the drawings used in reference to the un-earthed structures of the archeological site. In 1900, the intense agricultural
and construction activity as well as the deforestation executed by the brothers Adami on the island led to a much wider discovery of the Roman ruin on the island. Following the procedure instituted in the post war, the first intervention of a national archeological entity took place from the 8th to the 10th of August of the same year. The redacted summary of the excavation was published in the ‘Notizie degli scavi’ of 1900. Due to the brief time period conceded to the study, no graphic documentation was executed and the attention was focused on the analytical description of the various nuclei which constituted the site as well as the materials collected by the Adami brothers. In 1907 a representative of the Soprintendenza was sent to the island along with a photographer (A. Ulivi) thus providing the first photographic campaign on the ruins and archeological artefacts found on the island. From the report emerged the renovations through elevational drawings executed at the Roman harbor, site from which had previously been recovered golden coins and other artefacts as well as the restructuring/ repurposing of Roman walls into the habitation of Osvaldo Adami who had remained the sole custodian of the island by then. In 1925 the sole tenant of the island, Bice Vaccarino, submitted to the Soprintendenza documentations of excavations and of the finding of various artefacts, such as ceramics, as well as stamped bricks and a toilet which would have been a part of the thermal complex
of the Villa. These findings were mostly due to the agricultural works executed by the island’s tenant. In the summer of 1928, after an agreement between the Soprintendenza and Bice Vaccarino begins the first official campaign of excavation of the archeological site. In 1931 the Soprintendenza sends draftsman F. Ballerini who completed the planimetries and the full elevations of the archeological site referenced as graphic basis for this thesis. The campaign ends in 1934 with the bringing back to light of the walls defining the perimetry of the residential complex at all four cardinal points. Bice Vaccarino, the catalyst and key character in the excavations dies prematurely in 1938, leaving the site unprotected and marking the beginning of the falling of Giannutri into a phase of oblivion which lasted throughout the Second World War as well as the post war period. In 1959, with a change in zoning laws the island becomes buildable territory and a phase of construction of varied villas begins to invade the island, specifically in the strip of land between the two harbors of Cala Maestra and Cala Spalmatoio. In 1981 began the first official campaign of restructuration on the pars residenziale of the site which ended in 1991 under the project of Architect M. Giacchetti under the direction of the Soprintendenza. The fieldwork was preceded by a systematic revision of the archive through a thorough revision of the survey of the planimetry and wall elevations
taking into account the changes and deterioration which had taken place due to time as well as a new photographic campaign. Given the state of deterioration being the first intervention in over fifty years the works focused for the most part on an operation of maintenance rather than ‘discovery’. The operation included cleanup, deforestation, the consolidation of dilapidated structures as well as flooring of the residential quarters, of the ergastulum and of the Casa Adami. In 1991 with the ending of the campaign a fence was erected on the perimeter of the residential quarters of the Villa’s ruins. The latter fencing was finally replaced in 2017 after the aforementioned fencing system had been completely lost purpose due to the several holes cut in the wire mesh to allow access for the daily income of tourists on the island.
Villas of the Ancients Robert Castell Exerpt with Pliny's epistle to Callus on his Villa in Laurentum.
I. Site Traceability and Accessibility As previously mentioned, many of the Villa Marittima sites were largely looted, buried, or simply never found. The available information on their whereabouts and conditions is therefore scattered across sources, which when pieced back together, helps to recreate a map of accessible sites. Letters from Pliny, writings from Varro, and a medieval copy of the Peutinger plan found from Roman times comprise some of the first hand sources related to these sites. These sources are useful when attempting to understand the details and assess the importance of specific sites, but rarely reference accurate geographic locations. Volumes such as Marzano’s “Roman Villas in Central Italy: A Social and Economic History” provides more precise positioning. Among other examples, this volume is one of the more complete documentations of the non-urban dwellings found in central Italy, and organizes villas by the region in which they are located. The catalogue subdivides villas by the region in which they are located. Although Marzano does not provide accurate geographical locations or how to reach the sites she provides a brief historical background, citing the firsthand sources in which the site is mentioned, as well as the owner and the different building phases. Additionally, Marzano’s catalogue is exceptional compared to the other similar publications as the author provides an extremely complete database of Villa plans, both for buried and unburied sites.
Once the coastal villas from the first to the third century A.D. have been sorted out of this extremely dense catalogue, the sites that have already been uncovered can be identified. This newly created database makes it possible to gather crowdsourced information on public sources and forums, as well as use Google Earth, to rediscover the locations of particular ruins. The final step in the process is determining whether the site is on public land, and thereby accessible, or on private land. The whole process is lengthy and arduous, and highlights the discrepancies between the world of archaeology and academia that have rendered the sites obsolete and indecipherable within their cultural landscape.
II. Summer investigation 1. A. Harrison Undergraduate Research Grant: award amounting 4000$ to pay for the drone and laser technologies needed. B. The Carlo Pelliccia Fellowship: award amounting 6000$ to pay for travels for myself as well as two students from the university who would help with the research endeavour. The two students were Alison Amos (BUEP 2019) who focused on the landscape and planning aspect of the ruins and Michael Tucker (BARCH 2018) who focused on the architectural and structural aspects of the ruins.
During the summer before my final year at the University I received two grants to investigate the Cultural Landscape of Villa Marittimas in the regions of Lazio and Tuscany¹. This research defined the path to begin identifying some of the sites that were part of the Villa Marittima cultural landscape on a map. With the background knowledge included in the academic catalogue compiled by Annalisa Marzano, “Roman Villas in Central Italy: A Social and Economic History”, I selected sites that were relevant to the topic and were clearly determined to be currently uncovered. This generated a new - and much more concise - list of sites that I then began researching from local online forums discussing where the site is supposed to be found. One of the many challenges of this process was running into disparities between the names of the ruins in academic sources and the nicknames given to the ruins by the local citizens. Once the ruin was detected on Google Earth, the next question that arose was concerned with accessibility to the general public. There were four categories: 1. The ruins are protected by a form of access regulation, such as tickets, and sometimes offering a guided tour or information on the site. 2. The ruins are protected by a fence and overseen by a local guardian (usually a volunteer) that held the keys (unpaid access). 3. The ruins are completely abandoned, usually on national territory, and in many
cases they are in close proximity to a road or within a public park. Some of these contain informational way-finding, but they are mostly poorly maintained and unprotected from the weather. 4. The ruins are on a private plot, and have been placed in the care of the family that owns the land on which they are situated. Each of these four categories have their obstacles, although the main one was the lack of contact information or point-person available to refer to for: opening hours (category 1), guardian (category 2) or family whom owned the plot of land (category 4). For the most part, it was necessary to administer phone calls to local information centers to overcome the lack of communication, which also required someone to be fluent in Italian. Despite the pervasive lack of information available, I was welcomed by an enthusiastic community of volunteers. These volunteers ranged from museum keepers, to site guardians, to ‘archaeological volunteers’ that were part of local non-profit organizations dedicated to preserving these sites. In general, most of the coastal sites receive very few visitors each month, and some even only a few per year. For those that sell tickets, the entry prices are three euros on average, and require full-time guardians. As a result, the systemic issue of communication deficits, information deficiencies, minimal funding sources, and unsupported preservation efforts are complex
and multi-faceted. They can, however, be potentially addressed by the government if there was a refined touristic itinerary that showcases the value of the cultural landscape as a whole and celebrates the history of Villa Marittimas as a network of connected sites. Site selection criteria: The sites which we visited over the course of the month of travel were selected both actively and passively based on a number of factors. The first took into consideration the distances between our lodgings, and our method of travel, the automobile. In order to remain within our allotted budget awarded by the Pelliccia Fellowship, we were keeping all our housing, food, and travel costs to a minimum. Another factor involved ensuring that there was a logical narrative between the sites. Starting in the Eternal City of Rome provided context of the ancient civilization that we would be immersed in, and presented information on the social structure and architectural hierarchy that we could apply to future sites and the Villa Domitia on Giannutri. Yet another factor related to how it was important to keep the sites varied. We began at the Forum, and transitioned to the ultimate Villa Rustica - the Villa Adriana. We stopped at the archaeological park Ostia Antica, where the massive complex includes commercial, religious, and residential dwellings as well as an intricate road system. Then, we made our
way to the coast. Along the coast we arrived at the Imperial harbor of Trajan, a majestic site that displayed the scale and importance of the seaside ruins. From there, we began the specific investigation into ancient Villa Marittima ruins. Over time, the drastic changes along the coastline that naturally occurred have transposed seaside sites inland, such as the Villa alle Colonnacce, and have entirely submerged previously seaside villas like Cesarâ€™s Villa. Since the Villa Domitia was situated on an island we visited a similar site built on the Island of Ventotene, which also happened to have an informative museum associated with it. Another factor in the itineraryâ€™s planning were the conditions of the sites, and the extent of preservation. Some may have been merely encountered on the side of the road, but some had proper museums on the site. To recapitulate, site choice had an active part which ensured they fit within the typological criteria and time frame, but also a passive part which included proximity to our accommodations, a coherent narrative and a variety of preservation practices.
III. Itinerary Day 01: Travel from Milan to Rome. Day 02: Palatine Hill and Forum. Day 03: Case romane del Celio
House and Tumb at S.Clemente
Day 04: Mausoleum of Augustus Villa Adriana
Day 05: Archeological parc of Ostia Antica Day 06: Trajan’s Harbour La Palombara [Pliny’s Villa]
Day 07: Villa delle Colonnacce Cesar’s Villa
Day 08: Villa at Torre Astura Day 09: Palazzo Massimo Day 10: Temple of Giove Anxiur Tiberio’s Villa
Day 11: Domiziano’s Villa Day 12: Day 13: Day 14: Day 15: Day 16: Day 17: Day 18: Day 19: Day 20: Day 21: Day 22: Day 23-28: Day 29:
Roman water Cistern in Sabaudia Villa ai Quattro Venti Archeological parc of Minturno Villa Giulia Ventotene Villa Giulia Ventotene Villa at Torre Astura Rest Day Palazzo Altemps Villa Marittima on Via Galatea Villa Marittima di Torre Valdiga Impianto della Peschiera Parco Archeologico dei Vulci Villa delle Colonne Casa dello Scheletro La Tagliata Villa Domitia - Giannutri Travel back to Milano
Context site Villa
Casa dello Scheletro Vulci Villa Domitia Villa Marittima di Torre Valdiga Impianto della Peschiera La Palombara Villa Adriana
Palazzo Massimo Palatine Hill and Forum Cesar’s Villa
Torre Astura Nero’s Villa
Domiziano’s Villa Quattro Venti
Giove Anxur Cicero’s Mausoleum
IV. Research Tools and Media 1. Drawing as tool for Reading As architects we are trained to see through the extension of our pencils. As such, our primary method of investigation was drawing. Through perspectives, axonometrics, sections and detail drawings, we approached the ruins as they were, reading deeper into the architectural principles displayed by the ruins. This was especially important to become accustomed to dimensions, proportions and layouts at the sites. The repetition of drawings at the different sites strengthened our understanding of the ruins. We carried A4-sized notepads and measured out a 21x21 cm square on each sheet, allowing for space in the margins for annotations and practice sketches. This squared proportion is also recalled in the measurements and layout of this volume. 2. Photography as tool for Framing One of the key characteristics of Roman villas was the remarkable emphasis they assigned to framing viewsheds. Consequently, we used digital cameras and limited the use of the zoom in order to remain true to the scenes before us. Photography was also a very important media of documentation when traveling as it enabled efficient visual documentation of the numerous sites we visited. Finally, it was interesting to compare our three completely different framing approaches and interests from our pictures at each site. 3. Drone Videos as tool for Perspective Although drone technology is fairly new - and at some places, banned - the aerial images revealed a never-before-seen perspective on ruin layout and scale when its use was allowed. Drone footage was critical for viewing the sites that have been reclaimed by the changing sea level along the coastline. The birdâ€™s-eye view of the site gave us a comprehensive plan, while providing an understanding of the scale of the underwater complex without the need for diving. 4. 3D Laser Scanning as tool for Preservation L.I.D.A.R. technology is far more complex and expensive than the previous methods of documentation. It required a lengthy bureaucratic haggling process to obtain the necessary permits. As a result, we were only able to use the FARO Focus 3D on the site of Villa Domitia. This technology is essential for immortalizing a perfectly accurate and measurable model of the ruin as it stands today. This offers an enduring glimpse into its condition that can be documented and preserved for future generations. It also engenders a virtual reality model, hence enabling total immersion in the ruinâ€™s remains from anywhere in the world. 44
I. Vision The Carlo Pelliccia Fellowship requires the students to present their findings to the School of Architecture in the form of a one month long exhibit in the school’s Corner Gallery. 1. Location The gallery consists of two walls framing a square open space, joined at the intersection of several frequently-used paths that lead to the cafe, studios, offices, and classrooms and traversed by students, staff and visitors of the building. The gallery’s two walls create an inviting space that can either be easily seen in passing or for longer pauses to take time to absorb the exhibit. 2. Audience demographic The School of Architecture is constituted by a seemingly even body of graduate and undergraduate students, roughly ranging in ages from 18 to 28. This demographic is more responsive to techonological approaches to the display of information ranging from simple videos displays to virtual reality headsets. Nonetheless the exhibit also needs to cater to older demographics constituted by professors and visitors of the school, thus ensuring the proper interaction with the information at all levels of technological understanding. The exhibit was thus designed taking into account both visitor time frames and demographics.
Since the body of research had been compiled with the three lenses of Architectural History, Historic Preservation and Arts Administration the main goal of the exhibit was to coherently and clearly display the research. It became clear that ‘directly’ showing all three lenses for each site would have produced too much information for the gallery hence either forcing a much smaller sub-selection of sites. The exhibit should thus take an ‘indirect’ approach and be multilayered, catering to the interests and time commitment of the audience. Each of the three lenses was articulated as a level of depth embedded in each site, starting from the most obvious and diving into the more complex implications of the images presented. Such an approach assumes a welleducated and thoughtful audience, which is one of the luxuries of having an architecture related exhibit within a School of Architecture. First was the lens of architectural history, the subject most familiar to the students and professors walking by the exhibit. Second, less explicitly claimed yet illustrated both in writing and images, was the comparison which clearly emerges amongst the sites through their level of preservation. Third and most difficultly conveyed was the administrative lens. Whereas some sites showed fenced paths and protective gates, other images displayed a complete abandonment hence highlighting the disparity of treatment amongst sites all belonging to the same network. 49
II. Material selection Of the thirty two sites which we documented over the summer I had to make an informed selection to reduce the presented ruins down to twenty sites, a sizable number which would fit comfortably within the gallery space. The selection took into account both the necessity of cases which would show context such as the Forum, Villa Adriana and Ciceroâ€™s mausoleum and a broad variety of Villa Marittimas. These would be organized in vertical columns, following the chronological order in which we visited them. The meticulous records we took over the summer were collected in five different mediums, thus the order and ratio of each media had to be accounted for. In this decision it was important to consider the time of interaction required with each illustration.
The graphics which remained constant across each site were the plans and the explanatory didascalia. Each site was laid out in columns, beginning with the plan, followed by the didascalia and then drawings, diagrams, drone footage and photographs. Keeping the top two images in the same style ensured a clear vertical reading of each site, avoiding the confusion which could be caused by the grid layout. This rule was only broken for the site of the Villa Domitia in Giannutri. It being the focal point onto which the whole research builds up to, it was awarded three columns instead of one and broke out of the standard grid both in square dimensions and content.
Furthermore each site had a different variety of mediums. Some locations we only documented through photographs and drawings, some only through drone footage. These varied according to accessibility and the time we chose to spend at each location.
B B A
First Terrace 50 m
D Second Terrace
100 m 0
1. Forum Period: Latitude: 41°53’32.86”N Longitude: 12°29’7.17”E Accessibility: Ticketed entrance. Every day: 8:30am until one hour before sunset Website: www.coopculture.it/ heritage.cfm?id=4
A. History The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum that was originally a marketplace, and was surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of Rome. For centuries, it was the center of civic life, processions, and rituals. The Romans’ earliest shrines, sculptures, and structures were located here. Over time many structures were added until Julius Caesar added the features in the first century B.C. that made the Forum recognizable the way it is today. Despite fluctuations in economic and judicial power in times of turmoil, it would remain a political center in the city for centuries. B. Context of the trip As one of the most visited ruins of the world the forum was a good introduction into the landscape of Roman ruins both for its extensive scale and for the amount of available knowledge on each space. This visit was an introduction into the social and political hierarchy of the Roman civilization. C. Ruin Administration The Forum is an interesting case study as it must accommodate for thousands of tourists each day. Notwithstanding the large flow of people, the site allows for free circulation within the ruins almost everywhere enabled by clear circulation maps scattered on the grounds. There are few information signs on the ruins and there are no specific signs on the smaller ruin nuclei.
2. Case del Celio Period: 2nd century A.D. Latitude: 41°53’11.20”N Longitude: 12°29’31.21”E Accessibility: Ticketed entrance. Every day: 10:00am until 2:00 PM Website: www.caseromane.it
A. History The Case Romane del Celio was built in the second century A.D., and had two stories that faced a narrow alley. The domus was furnished with a bathhouse on the ground floor and with living rooms on the top floor. The details and remains of the wall decorations and murals were characteristic of Roman house ornamentation, and the layout itself was typical of its era and location. The rooms are shaped irregularly to accommodate for the dense urban fabric and topography, as well as incorporating the flowing waterway B. Context of the trip This site is much less known by tourists even though it is very close to the Forum. It served as an introduction into the layout of a domus, introducing building techniques as well as a good example of the decorative apparatus which adorned the walls and floors of Roman dwellings. These have been removed in most cases and brought to encicolpaedic museums such as Palazzo Massimo and it was thus critical to see them in their original context. C. Ruin Administration The site is much less visited because its size and circulation layout cannot accommodate large groups, hence it does not appear as much in guidebooks. Nonetheless the scale and fame it is very well maintained with information panels in each room. The site was left mostly ‘as is’ besides back chamber which has been retrofitted as antiquarium.
3. Villa Adriana Period: 1st century A.D. Latitude: 41°56’29.60”N Longitude: 12°46’37.54”E Accessibility: Ticketed entrance. Every day: 8:30am until sunset. Website: www.villaadriana. beniculturali.it
A. History The Villa was built as a retreat during the years 117 and 138 A.D., where it became an ideal city and refuge from Rome. At its height there were around 30 buildings on an almost 300 acre site in Tivoli. It housed residential and recreational buildings, as well as gardens, and pools. The core of the Villa was reserved for the Emperor and his court’s structures, and includes some of the most impressive buildings in the complex. The site suffered damage for centuries after its disuse in 138 A.D., until it was rediscovered in 1461. The site plan pictured to the right is the Republican Villa found in the complex. B. Context of the trip This site was a good introduction into the landscape of non-urban dwellings both for its extensive scale and for the amount of available knowledge on each space. This visit was a key demonstration of the scale of power of single individuals during the Empire. C. Ruin Administration The Villa complex takes a similar approach to the Forum inasmuch as tourists are free to wander on most of the premises. Because of its suburban location the numbers of tourists are relatively lower than that of the Forum. The landscape is very well cared for and there are signs explaining each building nuclei. The complex has an information center with didactic explanations accessible to all age groups as well as a scale model.
4. Ostia Antica Period: IVth century B.C until IXth century A.D. Latitude: 41°45’9.62”N Longitude: 12°17’19.64”E Accessibility: Ticketed entrance. Every day: 8:30am until 4:00 pm Website: www.ostiaantica. beniculturali.it
A. History Ostia Antica is a massive archaeological site of a major harbor city in ancient Rome. Preservation efforts have been largely successful, hence impressive buildings, frescoes, and mosaics remain to be seen today. Some of the earliest constructions on the site are from the IV century B.C., and the opus quadratum is evidence of later building techniques. A harbor was further added, as well as a town forum, large theater, public baths, taverns and inns, and the earliest European synagogue. By the IVth century, there were 100,000 inhabitants, until a slow decline from the VIth to the IXth centuries, when it was finally abandoned. The site plan pictured to the right is one of the domus found in the site. B. Context of the trip This site was an introduction into the landscape of harbor towns. It showed the variety in lifestyle of the Roman society, contrarily to Rome’s politically-oriented hierarchy, Ostia relied on business which is apparent through the layout of the ruins. C. Ruin Administration The complex takes a similar approach to the Forum as tourists are free to wander on the premises. Because of its suburban location there aren’t many visitors. Contrarily to Villa Adriana, the landscape is not cared for and grasses grow tall by the ruins. There also aren’t any maps/ information signs. Nonetheless there is a very complete antiquarium museum containing some important sculptural pieces.
5. Porto di Traiano Period: Ist century B.C until IInd century A.D. Latitude: 41°46’41.07”N Longitude: 12°15’25.36”E Accessibility: Free entrance . Summer season: Thu-Sun 9:30am until 6:00pm. Website: www.civitavecchia. portmobility.it/en/ visiting-harbourtrajan-fiumicino
A. History This site was a large artificial harbor in Ancient Rome, on the north bank of the north mouth of the Tiber River. It was first established by Claudius and then enlarged by Trajan to connect with the nearby port of Ostia. The site used to house a lighthouse on the artificial island, and the harbor opened directly to the sea. Claudius chose to construct a direct road from Rome to this site, and Trajan decided to construct another harbor farther inland. Ultimately, this was the main port of ancient Rome for more than 500 years and was a critical element of commodity trading. B. Context of the trip This site was a good introduction into the network of commercial harbors on the Italian coast. It showed the scale of commercial trading entertained during the Empire, proof of an incredible network of communication spread across the whole Mediterranean territory. The warehouses also proved a surprising level of inventiveness and organization. C. Ruin Administration The harbor takes a similar approach to the other archaeological sites with parks of such dimensions as tourists are free to wander on most of the premises. Because of its suburban location and the fact that only the warehouse ruins are visitable the site has very few visitors. Consecutively the landscape is not cared for and grasses grow very tall by the ruins. Additionally the orientation signs are very weathered but there aren’t enough funds to replace them.
6. La Palombara Period: From Ist century B.C. to Ist century A.D.. Latitude: 41°42’39.88”N Longitude: 12°20’48.51”E Accessibility: The site is accessible yet it is unclear wheter it is legal. Website: www. sovraintenden zaroma.it/i_luoghi/ roma_antica/ monumenti/villa_ cosiddetta_di_plinio
A. History This has possibly been deemed as Pliny’s Laurentine villa. The excavated part consists of two blocks; the first one is a large quadri-portico (opus reticolatum) with two series of columns, enclosing a garden (A in the plan) with a curvilinear fountain. The baths are located in the West corner (B). One of the rooms of the baths has a mosaic floor depicting Neptune and Hippocampus. The second block constituted the residential quarters (C) with a criptoporticus. Another cryptoporticus was located in the southwest, completing the substructures for the residential part. The two parts were linked by rooms on the southwest side, similar to the one used for the quadri-portico and dated to the middle of the Ist century. These rooms (D) show multiple repairs and appear used up to Severan times. B. Context of the trip As the first standalone Villa Marittima site we visited it seemed fit to choose Pliny’s Villa as Pliny’s epistolaes about the site have inspired artists, architects and historians until today. C. Ruin Administration The website of the National Archeological Agency clearly states the site is closed to the public because of restorations. Nonetheless the official website for tourism in Rome states the site is accessible “with an appointment”. At the site the old gate has been torn down and there are people enjoying the ruin as a park. This site is clear evidence of the lack of effort made by the government to protect and upkeep these sites.
7. Villa di Punta della Vipera Period: First century B.C. to the late third century A.C. Latitude: 42° 2’55.51”N Longitude: 11°49’10.93”E Accessibility: Free access. Website: www.portofrome.it/lapeschiera-di-puntadella-vipera/
A. History The Villa was built from the pillaged materials of the previously abandoned sanctuary of Minerva. The pars rustica of the Villa in opus reticolatum was built over the portico of the sanctuary. The pars urbana was located just by the sea with a large, rectangular piscina cut into the rock shelf. Remains of the pars urbana are still visible within the modern structure built upon it. These include pieces of mosaic, capitals and precious stones, indicating to the luxuriousness of the villa. The fishpond measured around 55 x 34 m; three sides of the enclosure were formed by a thick wall in opus caementicium. Inside the fishpond, the concrete walls feature opus reticolatum, which are at a lower level and provided walkways. Additional concrete walls divided the piscina into several tanks. Openings connected the various tanks of the pond, allowing water circulation. B. Context of the trip This site was the first ruin we visited that had been reclaimed by the ocean. It was the first test of the drone, hence introducing aerial investigation. C. Ruin Administration The ruin is on the coastline of a convent structure. As such it is protected from the public because it is hidden behind the thick walls of the convent. Nonetheless it is reachable through the rocky beach. There are no signs or fences to protect the ruin. The context of an underwater Villa raises the question of how to protect a site in such elemental conditions.
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8. Villa delle Colonnacce Period: IInd/Ist century B.C.. to the Istcentury A.C. Latitude: 41°53’18.66”N Longitude: 12°18’2.64”E Accessibility: Free access under appointment. Contact: Mail : info@ gruppoarcheologico.it Tel.+3906 638 5256 Website: www. gruppoarcheologico.it
A. History The Villa was built in the IInd/Ist century B.C. , as attested by the typical atrium with impluvium (B). In the first century A.D., it was enlarged with a peristyle (A), rooms on the south side, and a free standing cistern (C). One of these rooms (D), contained 3,000 fragments of finely executed wall decoration. It was paved with a polychrome geometrically patterned mosaic floor dating to the early first century A.D . The room was reconstructed and brought to Palazzo Altemps in Rome. Rooms (E and F) had an opus sectile floor. The Villa had an underground cistern (J) carved by a network of tunnels in tufa during an earlier phase. On the north side of the peristyle were the press rooms (G and H). Room (I) was a storage area. Unique brick stamps reading L. Coelius Nicephorus have been recovered suggesting the owner. Ancient sources mentioned that the Antonine family had a Villa in Lorium; whether this site pertains to the Imperial property is unclear. B. Context of the trip This site was important because it once overlooked the ocean and because of the changes in coastline it finds itself inland. It served to emphasize the evolution of the landscape over 2000 years. C. Ruin Administration The ruin’s safeguard has been ceded by the government to the ‘Gruppo Archeologico Romano' They have fenced off the site and actively continued digging and research. They offer free, very thorough guided visits upon appointment.
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Images from the 'Gruppo Archeologico Romano' documenting their research.
9. Villa di Nerone Period: IInd century B.C. to the IIIrd century A.C. Latitude: 41°26’49.34”N Longitude: 12°37’13.17”E Accessibility: Visible from fence or private ticketed tour previously arranged and only possible Sun-Sat from 9:00 am to 1:00pm. Contact: +39 06984994087 +39 338 9109016 Website: www.latiumvetus.it
A. History A large Villa with a frontage circa 200m long was constructed in the Late Republican period. The architectural facade on the coast was characterized by a semicircular front, with semicolumns protruding into the sea. These features are scantily preserved due to the effects of erosion on the coastline. This Imperial residence is linked to the figure of Nero especially, who according to literary sources, undertook major works at the port of Antium. Because of the very few surviving parts the villa’s rich history has not been comprehensively studied yet. It may have been built in the second century B.C., then enlarged in the first century B.C., and modified during the Julio-Claudian, Domitian (with baths on two levels), Hadrian, and during the Septimus Severus and Caracalla eras. The complex may have had a private theater, reported in a plan dating 1727, but its existence is disputed. B. Context of the trip This site was chosen because of its cliff side character, its very large scale and its peculiar interaction with the modern public. It is located above the town’s stretch of beach and is visible by citizens and tourists all year long. C. Ruin Administration The ruin’s safeguard has been ceded by the government to the NGO ‘ Latium Vetus’, in charge of protecting - not researching- the site. It has been fenced off on all sides and the fence is well maintained. Tour guides are available around the site though they are complicated to arrange.
10. Torre Astura Period: Ist century B.C. to the IInd century A.C. Latitude: 41°24’30.80”N Longitude: 12°45’54.33”E Accessibility: Open access.
A. History The first phase was constructed in the late Republican era, it then became part of the Imperial property for Emperors Augustus then Trajan and finally Aurelio to stop on their journeys to Campania, hence the harbor was added. The harbor is still visible in drone footage but the remains of the Villa have been covered by sand dunes. Historian Piccareta recorded a retaining wall forming the basis villae, made with a conglomerate core and opus vittatum facade. The terrace had a white tesserae mosaic for paving and a staircase that lead to the sea. A bridgeaqueduct (A in plan) led to an artificial island (B) with a pavilion for the cenatio, overlooking a large piscina. Around 100 A.D., and then again later, the living quarters on the artificial island were enlarged and incorporated the walls of one of the compartments of the fishpond (C) as foundation. B. Context of the trip This site was chosen because of its underwater character, its very large scale and its peculiar interaction with the public. It is located on a public beach and the walls which have been eroded to the sea level create small pools in which the water is warmed by the sun. C. Ruin Administration The ruin has no fence or protection. There are also no informative signs. When swimming bathers can see thousands of crushed artifacts ranging from Roman pottery, to mosaic tesseraes, bricks and other construction materials.
Image from the government page 'Restaurare sott'acqua' [Restoring underwater].
11. Temple of Giove Anxur Period: Ist century A.C. Latitude: 41°17’26.79”N Longitude: 13°15’36.39”E Accessibility: Ticketed entrance: Every day from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Contact: +39 06 3996 7950 Website: www. terracinaturismo.com
A. History The temple of Giove Anxur was a Roman temple constructed on an cliff on Mount Sant Angelo, dating to the Ist century A.D.. The temple (A) was dedicated to Luppiter Anxur (young Jupiter), the protective divinity of the city. The smaller, but older sanctuary (B) was instead dedicated to the cult of the goddess Fenonia, introduced to the region in the Vth century B.C. This temple was located on the upper terrace and was to be reached before entering the main temple on the constructed terrace. The main temple was oriented disparately from the terrace, with the facade oriented to the South. The terrace, partially dug out of the rock, was closed on the north end to create a portico facing South. There were three different spaces held within the subterranean part of the terrace, constructed in opus incertum. B. Context of the trip This site was chosen to illustrate the importance of deities in the Roman tradition, specifically for maritime settlements. It also proves the importance of framing views was not limited to dwellings but it was paramount in the design of religious structures. C. Ruin Administration The ruin has a small ticket office with one room dedicated to the screening of a digital reconstruction of the site. Like in the other larger sites visitors are free to walk anywhere on the premises. Informative panels are placed around the complex explaining each nucleus.
Reconstruction image from the tourism page www.terracinaturismo.com
12. Villa di Domiziano Period: Ist century A.C. Latitude: 41°15’48.84”N Longitude: 13° 2’28.16”E Accessibility: Ticketed access only with a certified guide. Visits are 3h long and must be arranged ahead, with a group of minimum 15 people. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org +39 3450794416 Website: www.sentiero.eu
A. History Emperor Domitian’s residence on the shore of the lake was built on a pre-existing villa; Domitian reused part of the earlier structures, which included a porticoed courtyard and a central rectangular pool (A), curved at the north east end. The walls enclosing this space were decorated with engaged pillars and semi-columns, plastered in imitation marble veneer. On the lake shore was a building with a semicircular plan (B). Radial walls departed from the inner circle which was a rare choice for the villa’s time period. Archaeologist Lugli judged that these radial walls were not visible in antiquity, which explains the confusion about the nature of the building. A terracing wall and a cistern also belong to the earlier villa. To the south is the sector built under Domitian (C). B. Context of the trip This site was chosen because of its preservation level. Additionally the placement of the ruin is peculiar. It sits on a lake separated from the ocean by just a sand dune hence adapting a flat plan approach rather than the standard terracing. C. Ruin Administration The ruin with its surrounding park are fenced off. The National Archaeological Agency has recently conducted more preservation works but the regulation of tourism has been ceded to a local agency. To visit the site it is necessary to book a private tour. Contrarily to other sites of this scale visitors must strictly remain with the guide on the elevated pathway that runs through the complex.
13. Villa di Tiberio Period: Ist century B.C. to the IVnd century A.C. Latitude: 41°15’2.07”N Longitude: 13°26’59.09”E Accessibility: Ticketed access. Open everyday from 8:30am to 7:30pm. Contact: +39 0771 548028 Website: www.sperlonga.it
A. History The complex has three major units: (1)Cisterns at a higher elevation. (2) Remains of a possible bath suite on the beach (3)The main nucleus of the Villa and grotto. The Villa was organized around a peristyle court (A), enclosing a vividarium with various rooms opening onto it. The row of rooms located to the southeast of the court was added in the late IVth century(B). To the southeast of the court were two lower terraces, part of the original plan; probably a portico, and a garden leading to the grotto (D), adapted as nymphaeum. The grotto had sculptural groups and a monumental architectural facade. The fishpond below it consisted of a circular and a rectangular pool with four tanks connected to the main pool by sluices. The construction of a storehouse and the amount of African pottery found suggest the Villa became the administrative center of latifundia during the late Empire. B. Context of the trip This site was chosen because of its grotto and fishpond (amongst the best preserved examples) its terraced layout and its museum. C. Ruin Administration The ruin has a fence both on the street side and beach side. Before accessing the ruin there is a museum housing the more precious artifacts recovered from the site as well as a thorough explanation of the site’s significance geographically, socially and financially. The site is very well maintained and is clearly marked on the road through signs.
Reconstruction image from the museum on site.
First Terrace 50 m
Second Terrace 0
14. Villa ai Quattro Venti Period: Ist century B.C.. Latitude: 41°13’56.36”N Longitude: 13° 5’32.36”E Accessibility: Only twice a year with guided tours organised by the ‘Pro Loco’ (town hall). Contact: +39 0775547770 +39 3299166914 Website: www.prolococirceo.it
A. History The Villa had a very large base formed by multiple substructures, with two parallel retaining walls creating the platform connected by perpendicular walls. Because of the topography, the south side of the platform is not straight. The resulting triangular space was probably a garden where a circular nymphaeum was later built. The entrance was on the north side, on the third terrace. The first terrace had a vaulted portico (A) and two cisterns in the middle (B). A small ended with a staircase, connecting the cryptoporticus to the second terrace. On this terrace was an atrium (C) paved with stone and surrounded by a pillared portico. A channel ran around the atrium, collecting water from the roof for the cisterns below. A few rooms of the pars urbana were discovered on this terrace, some that featured black and white terrerae mosaics and frescoes. On the coast, there are the remains of what as likely a small harbor, an essential part of the villa. B. Context of the trip This site was chosen because of its terraced character. It is located on a densely populated part of mount Circe, trapped amongst residential buildings and yet inaccessible to the public. C. Ruin Administration The ruin has a fence along the whole perimeter. There are no informative signs. It is opened twice a year during the summer with a guided tour organized by the town hall. Nonetheless the scarcity in tours the vegetation and structures are maintained all year round.
First Terrace 50 m
Second Terrace 0
15. Cicero’s Mausoleum Period: Ist century A.C.. Latitude: 41°15’5.63”N Longitude: 13°34’43.51”E Accessibility: Ticketed access through guided tour organized ahead. Contact: +39 349 532 8280 +39 0771770382
A. History Cicero’s mausoleum was located on the Via Appia, and dates back to the Augustan period. The tower was built to be 24m in height and enclosed in a large, 83m x 68 meter funerary precinct The central plan featured a concrete cylinder, composed of a square base (18m x 18m) made of rectangular limestone blocks that were once clad in marble. The base also contains a cella with a central pilaster that was covered by a barrel vault inlaid with six perimetrical niches. Dug into a separate hill at a nearby location is the tomb of Cicero’s daughter Tulliola, further validating the designation of the mausoleum to Marcus Tullius Cicero. B. Context of the trip This site was chosen to complete the setting of the context for the trip. Going from political architecture (forum), urban dwelling type (domus), Villa Rusticas, coastal town layout (Ostia), commercial harbor structures , and finally reaching closure with the tomb of an important figure in Roman history exemplifying the characteristics of the typical Villa Marittima owner. C. Ruin Administration The mausoleum has a perimeter fence with an information panel by the road. It is currently under the care of the National Archeological museum of Formia through which it is possible to organize private tours in small groups.
16. Villa Giulia Period: Ist century B.C. to the IInd century A.C.. Latitude: 40°48’0.05”N Longitude: 13°25’47.12”E Accessibility: Ticketed access through guided tour booked ahead. Contact: +39 0771 85345
A. History The Villa has three distinct nuclei connected through staircases. The southern area had a series of connected rooms for service and maybe productive activities. The central area functioned as connecting point between the other two nuclei. The northern part is divided into three parts: (1) a large xystus for exercising with terraces and gardens overlooking the sea. (2) A large area with plan in a semicircular shape (35m in diameter) for a garden probably surmounted by a belvedere. (3) bath quarters. Water arrived to the Villa through a cistern underneath the belvedere. Below the Villa fisheries had been dug out of the rock. B. Context of the trip This site was chosen because of its location on an island without running water. It is the only site comparable to the Villa Domitia in Giannutri under all three lenses of Architectural History, Historic Preservation and Arts Administration. C. Ruin Administration The ruin has a fence though it has several holes. Although the ruin is less preserved than Villa Domitia the conservation efforts are notable, with parts that have been reconstructed in scale to show examples of what it would have resembled. Located distant from the ruin but at the heart of the town is a small yet extremely thorough museum explaining the significance of the villa. The museum also houses several detail and section reconstruction models of how the Villa would have looked and functioned. Site visits can be booked ahead through the museum.
17. Villa di Castrum Novum Period: Ist century A.C.. Latitude: 42° 2’20.46”N Longitude: 11°49’49.15”E Accessibility: Open access.
A. History The remains of two large fishponds (D) (one apsidal, the other rectilinear) of a Villa are visible just a few meters from the coastline. The piscinae extended for almost 300m along the coast. The apsidal pond is close to the mouth of a small river, and the current has destroyed its eastern side. The rectangular pond is protected by an L-shaped moat connected to the shore forming a complex network of tanks, channels and anchorages associated with the fishery. On the coast, on the other side of the road, walls, mosaics and opus signum floors, of a bath suite were visible before the excavation of the National Archeology Agency which partially uncovered the structures of the Villa (C). Another building (A) is situated in the northwest, on the opposite side of Via Aurelia, and is quite possibly related to the Villa as well. The building had two doorways in the front, a possible portico with posts on the North side, and a room with mosaic floor dating back to the Augustan period. B. Context of the trip This site was chosen because of its location on both sides of a relatively important road connecting the region’s coastal towns. C. Ruin Administration The ruin has no fence or protection. There is one small information sign (pictured in the following page). Sites C, B and A are mostly overtaken by the vegetation and go unnoticed compared to the wall structures emerging in the water.
18. La Mattonara Period: Ist century B.C.. Latitude: 42° 6’59.11”N Longitude: 11°46’6.39”E Accessibility: Open access.
A. History There is almost no known written source or research regarding the ruin. The site includes the remains of a villa, with a harbor and fishpond. The fishpond was cut into the rock shelf, projected around the cape and was finished with concrete walls covered in opus reticolatum. It is divided into three tanks, the main rectangular one (A in plan) and the other two trapezoidal tanks smaller in size (B in plan). The western side of the enclosure faces the sea and connected to it through two channels cut into the rock. Higginbotham suggests that the smaller of the trapezoidal tanks was used as a holding tank for selected fish or shellfish. The small port was protected by a long rocky arm, cut into the rock; however, there is another pond, circular in shape that was possibly also used to hold fish. B. Context of the trip This site was chosen because of its location amongst a highly industrial area in which the waters are very polluted. As such it gave the trip a perspective on the best cases of preservation versus the worst examples of efforts made by the National Agency. C. Ruin Administration The ruin has no fence or protection. There are also no informative signs..
19. Villa del Criptoportico Period: Ist century B.C. to the Ist century A.C.. Latitude: 42°25’10.00”N Longitude: 11°37’46.58”E Accessibility: Ticketed access.
A. History This large residential complex housed a number of buildings in this area; the first building, a large domus to the north, was surrounded by a series of small rectangular rooms, perhaps workshops (tabernae), overlooking the main street. Among these were the two entrances of the Villa of the Cryptoporticus, named for its unusual and impressive underground rooms. The extravagant private residence was built in the classical style of noble Roman houses, featuring a domus with an atrium and a peristyle. Its earliest construction phase was found to be around the late second century and early first century B.C., and underwent numerous renovations during the Augustan period. Further changes were made later, while in even late antiquity parts of the domus were partially reused. Finally, the area was abandoned and used as a cemetery, based on the discovery of tombs in the cellar. B. Context of the trip This site was chosen to see a new approach to protecting the ruin with a ‘roofing approach’, in which most of the Villa has been covered by arched roof structures in plexiglass to protect the mosaics. C. Ruin Administration The ruin is enclosed in a very large park with dense vegetation making the entrance the only access point. Visitors can either walk for 1h to reach the ruin or rent an electric bicycle. Similarly to the other large scale sites visitors are free to move anywhere in the complex.
20.Villa Domitia Period: Ist century B.C. to the IInd century A.C. Latitude: 42°15’25.90”N Longitude: 11° 5’49.26”E Accessibility: Ticketed access through guided tour at 2pm every Wed. Thu. and Sat during summer season. Contact: +390565 908231 info@ parcoarcipelago.info
A. History This multi-terraced Roman Villa was built to have a panoramic view and was partially excavated in the 1930s. The features that are clearly visible today belong to the pars urbana (D) and are the impluvium with six columns and the bath suite. There are remains of Third style frescoes, as well as marble revetment and mosaics. The building technique of the walls is in opus reticolatum and opus mixtum. A later Republican phase is confirmed by the presence of architectural terracottas. During the second century A.D. restorations and additions took place. Large cisterns and other structures are visible in the woods around the exposed structures. The Villa had two harbors that flanked opposite sides of the island. At the harbor at Cala Maestrea (A) remains of fish salting vats were found, there were also two staircases that led to a terrace with some rooms (B). A path climbing up the hill led to the residential sectors (C,D), and reached different terraces. In the residential part the bath complex had opus sectile floors. Two black and white mosaics had figurative schemes: one depicting Adriadne, Theseus and the labyrinth of Knossos, and the other a marine scene. Many brick stamps have been recovered and relate to the three major building phases. The first dates to the end of the Ist century A.D. (Cn. Domit. Arignot.); the second group dates to the early IInd century A.D.; while the third dates to the middle of the IInd century. To the southeast of the baths and at a higher elevation, there is a courtyard with a modular room that has been deduced to have served as the slave quarters (E). B. Context of the trip This site was the catalyst to the research project which served to build up a background in order to finally come full circle and contextualize the ruin within its cultural landscape. C. Ruin Administration The archaeological site is under the authority of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago. Only the residential part of the ruin is fenced. In 2017 the authorities renovated the wire fence which had several holes from trespassers and put in place a service of guided tours to the ruin through guides provided by the National Archaeological Agency of the region. 131
IV. Virtual reality model Because of the considerable cost, weight and time investment required in obtaining the permits as well as physically 3D scanning a site, the Villa Domitia was the only ruin we used the technology on. L.I.D.A.R technologies are becoming increasingly popular in the field of Historic Preservation, carving a niche market for ‘Cultural Heritage Informatics’. Through the use of laser beams the technology collects information on the distance, color and texture of millions of points in the ruin. This data collection results in a ‘3D Point Cloud Model’. The method yields extremely precise models of irregular shapes and organic textures the documentation of which could not be achieved in such a thorough way through any other data collection medium. There are several possible ways in which the 3D Point Cloud Model of Villa Domitia can be used. As a first step the model was used to reproduce an accurate plan drawing of the ruin. This was then compared to the plan drafted in the official archaeological investigation of the site of 1931. The second step was the conversion of the point-cloud-data into a model compatible in Virtual Reality. The VR world enables any person across the globe with a VR set and access to the file to step into the ruin and experience the past from the comfort of any room. It provides a full digital documentation of what the ruin was in the summer of 2018, hence creating a precise, analyzable reconstruction of the ruin which can be referenced in future years. Although VR is an extremely exciting segment of the discipline of Historic Preservation it also comes with a variety of implications relating to its dissemination. Point Cloud data analysis applied to ruins being a very new field, there seems to be no set of guidelines in the legality and ownership of the 3D model and availability of distribution platforms. At the moment the model is owned by the governmental agency which issued the scanning permit, but it is being used by the University of Virginia School of Architecture for the purpose of research as well as its display, as long as any research developments are being shared with the governmental institution. Finally the model was used to replicate textures from the Villa at a 1:1 scale in order to recreate an aspect of the ruin through a physically tangible medium. 134
V. Exhibit furniture It was important to delineate the ground floor area of the gallery since the exhibit space consists of two walls and is located on such a busy path. The implication of two ‘gates’ through the use of furniture was a critical tool to create a spacial fence for the visitors entering the Villa Domitia in virtual reality. When using a VR headset it is necessary to give the visitor a point of reference. By setting ‘obstacles’ the visitor has a frame of reference before putting on the headset so that they know they can only walk within a specific area with the headset on. Further to providing boundaries the furniture also served to provide seating, a computer stand, and a place on which to rest the additional material. Finally, the design and building of the furniture needed to be cost efficient to fit within the exhibition budget. The furniture was designed with the intent of translating the feel and scale of the architectural texture experienced in the ruins. The design initially called for a wall made of 2x2inch wooden dowels to recreate a wall in opus reticolatum. Nonetheless with the necessity of providing seating, a computer stand as well as the display of postcards and travel books, the top surface reshaped the design. It was also important to utilize the 3Dpoint cloud model in order to make it in part digestible to those simply walking by without the time to stop and try the VR headset. As such we extracted 18x18 inch squares of 136
different brick textures, showing brick typology as well as the ways in which different types met each other to create masonry seams. These excerpts were then routed in foam and casted in plaster and concrete, creating uniform textures. Finally the casted tiles were fitted into 19x19inch plywood boxes hence providing an inviting, flat, sitting structure sided by 1:1 scaled brick textures from the ruins.
VI. Extras: Travel books and postcards Further to the displayed core material on the walls the exhibit included three travel books with photographs taking the visitors through the road-trip. The photographs range from artifacts, to ruins to more personal pictures of the group in the car as well as simply interacting with the ruins. These three books were intended for those visitors with more time, who, after having gone through the information on the walls and the virtual reality model, wished to take the time to dive deeper into the personal aspect of the trip by flipping through our photographs. While planning the exhibit one of the priorities was set on the importance of details. Although the exhibit had to cost as little as possible we wanted visitors to leave with both a gained knowledge on the multi-layered issue as well as something tangible to take away. As such we created postcards of eight different Villa Marittima sites. The sites were selected according to criteria such as social status of the owner in Roman times, level of preservation, entity currently in charge, access, as well as whether the site was located on land or in the water. The postcards had an image of the ruin on one side and a brief explanation of the site on the text part of the card, leaving some lines and stamp space for visitors to send to their friends.
VII. Reflection A. Budget and Costs The exhibit had a 750 $ budget allotted to us by the school. Further to that, following an article published on the alumnae newsletter on the research, a Paul King generously donated 1000$ to help the project. Although the large budget available it was very important to keep costs to a minimum in order to conceive a very successful display all the while saving money for the later printing of the exhibit catalogue. The way the money was then distributed went in order of priority. The main expenses were the ten screens used to display the drone footage of the different Villa sites. The second largest expense was the building of the furniture followed by printing and mounting costs. The expenses were broken down as the following: • Video Amazon tablets Fire 7 (10 screens) : • Wall Display and Mounting Foam-core boards (24 boards) : L- Pins (set of 400) : Glue (4 sticks) : Printing (209 images) : Photographs (420 photos) : Travel Books (3 books) : Map of central Italy : • Furniture Plywood : Nails : TOTAL :
362$ 78$ 21$ 8$ 92$ 48$ 44$ 9$ 251$ 7$ 920$
B. Reception of the public The exhibit was on display for a whole month. At the opening the public had a varied attendance of Professors (from the disciplines of Architecture, Architectural history and Historic preservation ), PhD students, Masters students (Architecture and Architectural History) and Undergraduate students. Three professors from the School gave introductory comments, which were followed by a brief explanation of the materials on display, their logic and value. Finally the floor was opened for questions. The opening was the moment in the life of the exhibit with the most concentrated number of visitors. In the following weeks the space had a very different feel and enabled for a more personal reading of the materials as well as the experience of the 3D virtual reality model. Throughout the rest of the month I passed by the exhibition daily to ensure the different technologies used where still functioning as well as taking the chance to give anyone who was looking at the exhibit a chance to ask questions, a short tour through the sites or telling them information as they stepped into the different rooms of the V.R. model. Some of the comments received from the public hinted at the abundance of the information on the walls. This in part deterred viewers from taking the time to learn from the information as the display seemed overwhelming to some. Nonetheless the exhibit was praised for its simple organization in a vertical grid which made the content very legible as well as incrementally consumable.
VII. Reflection C. What would I have done differently? The content displayed in the exhibit was very abundant. And although the depth of information being layered through the three lenses of Architectural History, Historic Preservation and Arts administration initially seemed to be effective, such layered depth did not seem to emerge to most visitors. As such the simplest way to prevent the issue would have been to provide an instruction booklet. This set of instructions could have played a critical part in enabling a more intentional reading of the materials. The vision for this booklet would have followed a system similar to the one laid out by writer Julio Cortezar in his counter-novel entitled â€˜Hopscotchâ€™. The counter-novel begins with a set of instructions as to how to read it. One can either follow the chapters as they were printed or they can choose to skip between chapters following the order set up by the author, hence reading a completely different plot and reaching a different understanding of the same novel by its end. Similarly the set of instructions could have provided three different readings of the materials further to the one provided without instructions. In the exhibit the materials were laid out chronologically in the order in which we visited the sites during our trip. A second reading would have been the chronological order in which each structure was built. A third one would have re-organized the structures according to their level of preservation. Finally the fourth reading method would have instructed the viewer to 142
go hierarchically from the ruins which had received the highest care from the government as well as with the highest rates of tourism, de-escalating to those sites which are in complete abandonment and at the highest risk of destruction. This set of reading instructions would have made the material more tangible as it would have added a level of interaction between the viewer and the research because of its inherent request for the public to constantly critically compare each site. A second major change to the exhibit would have been a better inclusion of the physical tree-dimensional medium. This was initially planned in the exhibit through the creation of 3D Rockite models of each plan. Tree-dimensional models have the advantage of being extremely legible to a public from all backgrounds. Plan drawings of ruins are hardly legible to those whom arenâ€™t used to the aesthetic and layout of ancient Roman Villa typology. When one is accustomed to seeing architectural elements such as peristyles, and atriums in plan the logic of each building begins to be much more clear and the raising of the walls from the 2D to the 3D would have potentially helped close the gap. Nonetheless it must be recognized that the exhibit was assembled during the academic semester as an additional weight on top of classes and extracurriculars and as such had its limitations in terms of the extent of time which could be dedicated to the formatting of each of piece of information displayed.
I. Cultural landscape: A design proposition From the initial investigation on the architectural research of the typology of Villa Marittimas in Central Italy, to the inquiry on the traceability and reachability of such sites and finally the ground research on the level of their preservation this endeavor has demonstrated several gaps and issues in the system. Given the depth of information found in catalogs such as A. Marzano’s ‘Roman Villas in Central Italy: A Social and Economic History’ as well as L. Romizzi’s ‘Otium Villas of ancient Italy’, the academic documentation of these sites seems to have maintained a satisfactory level of documentation. Nonetheless these volumes are heavily reliant on ancient sources as well as archaeological studies executed over a century ago with a very different approach and technologies. Moreover, the research published by academia does not give the accurate geographical location of the mentioned sites, thus generating a gap between the realm of academia and the rest of the world. Although it is arguable that not disclosing the location of such sites can prevent tourism and vandalism it is obvious after the research presented here that it is not the case and that in the contrary sites like La Mattonara, which is currently hidden by an industrial complex and soaks in waters polluted by the discharge of the complex, would highly benefit from tourism. If instead of being perceived and managed as single archaeological sites these ruins were handled as a unified landscape, a standard level of care could be expected of each site which would have a tremendous impact on 146
the whole typology of ruins. In the case of the sites visited in this research endeavor each ruin with ticketed access -thus managed either by the government or some entity such as an NGO whom has been put in charge of the site’s care- had prices ranging from 2,50€ to 18€. Contrarily to expectation there seemed to be no evident factor such as scale, tourist influx, guided tour vs simple visit to justify the changes in price. One of the first steps would thus be to create a standard entry ticket price to create a fund which could then support the network as a whole. This would take into accountability the levels of tourism of each site and thus the infrastructure necessary to support it but would also provide a standard level of protection if not even preservation of the Villa ruins. A second, even more ambitious step to this process of re-valuation of the network of Villa Marittima sites along the Italian coast would be to find agreements with the government which would allow some of the artifacts which have been removed from their location and which are now either in storage spaces or in encyclopedic museums both in Italy and in the rest of the world such as Palazzo Altemps to return to their original location. These would need to be protected and encased in antiquariums on each site. Understanding the risk as well as the general debate between the value of local museums versus global encyclopedic museums, I believe there would be an immense value in returning those essential pieces such as mosaics but also smaller artifacts to the place where the
civilization which produced them left them. Such a move would inherently raise the touristic appeal as well as the value of the sites themselves, making the preservation and protection of the ruins a necessity rather than an option. Community Archeology is a line of thought which advocates that if an outside party enters a community acknowledging the value of a site and engaging with the local community to preserve it they become naturally protective of the site which was once abandoned. This industrious move would have to be very well planned and coordinated. Nonetheless it raises a new opportunity within the field: if each site which is currently exposed to the ravages of time and nature but especially of vandalism and looting were to be cared for with a standard system of protection (fencing) as well as regulated access and would be revalued through the construction of antiquariums, the networkâ€™s relevance as well as fame could have an exponential change in local and global perception.
II. The case of the Villa Domitia I chose this site as case study as it is the one whose issues and constraints I know best having witnessed every summer the changes and evolution of the ruin and its management. The Villa Domitia is a peculiar ruin compared to the rest of the network because of its situation on an island. Nonetheless it is visited daily throughout the Summer season by the tourists vacationing on the island as well as the influx of tourists brought daily by a minicruise service which travels from the mainland to the islands of Giannutri and Giglio. The island as a site comes with a lot of constraints: (1) the ground is very dry during the summer months, the trees (mostly junipers) are very low and surrounded by bushes which makes it very hard to find shade unless on one of the inland paths cutting through these maritime forests. Furthermore there are only two very small cobble beaches, with the rest of the sea being framed by a layer of extremely sharp volcanic rock. (2) The island is only inhabited by three residents during the winter. In the summer months a flux of Villa owners arrives from the cities of Rome, Milan and Turin. The islandâ€™s infrastructure is thus only built to cater to the islandâ€™s private summer residents. There is no public or commercial infrastructure such as public toilets, drinkable water fountains or restaurants (3) The mini cruise service arrives onto the island at 11AM and sails off again at 4PM. Because of security reasons the cruise ship stays on the dock for the time it takes to unload the passengers and then goes to anchor in the nearby bay. 148
This leaves a group of around 150 passengers without access to toilets as well as proper shade/seating area during the hottest hours of the day. Tourists arrive on the island to go swimming and/or to see the ruins of the ancient Roman Villa. Nonetheless they are met with a site completely lacking the necessary infrastructure to support tourism. Because of the lack of structure to cater to their needs they do not feel a sense of responsibility towards the island and hence litter and trespass into the islandâ€™s private areas as well as into the archaeological site of the ruin. The following design proposal represents an attempt to visualize the possible steps which could be implemented in order to generate a different level of touristic experience, designed to generate a renewed sense of responsibility towards the island and its archaeological site.
III. Design Strategy Besides the programmatic necessities previously enumerated the idea of building for a ruin sets forward the issue of 'how to meet the ground?'. In precedent projects architects have confronted the issue by either 'touching', digging' or 'raising' the ground. The project at Villa dei Quintilii by N! Studio touches the ground. The project by Bernard Tschumi at the acropolis 'digs' the ground. Finally Peter Zumthor's project 'Shelter for Roman Ruins' raises the whole structure such as to have the least invasive impact on the ruin. Regardless of the personal character of each architect it must be noted that although each project is located on a ruin, they all have completely different programmatic purposes. Similarily the site of Giannutri poses three programmatic classifications going from (1) the critically functional (bathrooms) to (2) both functional and didactic (museum - shelter for artifacts and learning center) to (3) purely didactic (observation deck providing views to the ruin in the hours when the site's gates are closed). Hence to confront both the physical demands and constraints of the project as well as the core question of how to meet the ground the design proposal is subdivided into three pavilions.
Villa dei Quintilii, N!Studio.
Acropolis Museum, Tschumi.
The photographs on the left are part of a series of form finding models which led to the final design. Shelter for Roman ruins, Zumthor.
Arrival to the harbor by boat.
Access on the island.
Path leading to the other harbor on the island . This path is intercepted by the one leading to the Villa Domitia.
A. Restrooms (5x15m) The restrooms were designed as a solid cave, a monolithic piece unlike any of the architecture of the island. The building is laid out around two solid walls, one from which six bathroom stalls are carved out and the other from which a deep sink is carved on one side and a bench and protruding roof are added on the other side. The bench was conceived as a shaded place of rest after the steep walk from the harbor. The only light sources inside the structure are the two access points on opposite sides as well as the clerestory openings within the stalls. Thus the structure was given a dark and refreshing feel after the uphill walk in the summer heat. In designing the structure the heavy materiality of concrete was key as well as the way in which the building greeted the visitor's hand. As such the copper sink and it's knobs were given a narrow, industrial feel, hence greeting the visitor with a delicacy separate from the heaviness of the concrete 'cave'
Access to the path from the restrooms intercepting the main road and leading to the ruin.
The path is at first surrounded by bushes and meets a forest before reaching the pars urbana of the ruin.
As the path enters the forest it encounters the museum .
B. Museum (5x25m) The museum structure was also designed as a cave. Instead of simply touching the ground (like the restrooms) it digs it, concealing the artifacts underground: the place where they were found in the first place. The building was divided in four parts. First an amphitheater, wherein the tour guide may give a detailed explanation of the site and its significance as the visitors sit on the steps. The second part serves for the display of the cataloged artifacts. These are shown in cases connected to exposed concrete rebars as seen in the detail drawing below. The cases are a critical part of the structure as they create a clear visual connection between the artifacts and their container. On the partition wall separating the two middle parts hangs the mosaic of the labyrinth, the more significant piece discovered on site (see render on the next page). It is put in evidence through the introduction of a lightwell dropping the mid-day sunlight from above. The third part is an enclosed glass laboratory, providing storage and workspace for the pieces which have not been cataloged or studied. The fourth part is a staircase leading back out. The exit stairs change the orientation of the walkway and redirects the visitor on the path, framing the ocean view throguh the forest as one emerges back on ground level. Finally the roof of the structure provides a ledge to sit on for the tourist group to wait for everyone to have circulated through the exhibition space.
Exit of the museum framing the ocean through the forest.
Path from the museum to the ruin encountering parts of the ruin still mostly buried and
Arrival to the gate of the pars urbana and tower.
C. Tower (5x5x10m) The tower doesn't touch or dig the ground, it raises it. Because the ruin's perimeter is fenced off, the site is only accessible during the hours between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. The tower allows for the site to be comprehensively seen both during official tours and during closed hours. Since visiting hours take place only during the warmest hours of the day the summer citizens of the island have been discouraged to go or have broken into the fence creating a security issue. The tower creates a new visual connection to the site enabling the residents to enjoy the ruin without breaking in. The design -like the other two structures, has a monolithic core with 2.5 flights of stairs wrapping around the perimeter and then carving into the core to create a framed view of the ocean which eventually leads to the elevated plane. The tower is a full concrete pour with the exception of the handrail where the hand is met by a smooth timber lining as shown in the detail below.
IV. Ruins of the future and future of the ruins. The design decision process was influenced by the Genius Loci of the site. There is a fascination embodied in the ruin as symbol of our conception of temporality. Hence the task of designing a modern structure in the proximity of a fragment of time which has reached present day is daunting in many ways. Today we are faced with building materials and techniques which have been so completely reshaped by the exponential acceleration of the cycles between production and consumption that they seem almost unable to produce ruins, rather a piles of rubble. As such it was key to create a structure which would be materially and formally timeless: able to withstand the roughness of the island's climate as well as to contrast and serve the fascination inspired by the ruin. The choice of concrete as main material became inevitable because of its impenetrable properties. As long as none of the steel rebars are exposed concrete structures will last for centuries. The idea of impenetrability also affected the design of each fragment, yielding three monolithic pieces, formally contrasting the fragmentation and friability of the ruin.
Epilogue The Italian coastline is scattered with remains of Villa Marittimas varying in scale, geographical concentration, stage of degradation, accessibility and public awareness .This heterogeneous, yet very extensive landscape has until now been approached on a 'site by site' basis, allowing for some sites to degrade at much higher rates than others. After having gone through this small, yet very revealing research endeavor some key points emerge as necessary future steps for the preservation of the sites. Once the ruins are acknowledged from the point of view of a comprehensive cultural landscape the first impending phase is their documentation. Starting from placing the geographical coordinates of each site belonging to the typology of Roman Villa Marittimas on a singular map. The following step is to document each site through the use of L.I.D.A.R. technologies: although there may not be enough funds to take on preservation campaigns for every ruin, it is critical to document the state of each archaeological site in order to have a complete digital catalogue of the cultural landscape. A second phase, also budget-conscious, requires the placement of two signs per site: the first one highlighting the historic value of the site itself and the second one, placing the site on the map with all the other Villa Marittima ruins. Such a step is valuable both because it opens the door to a new kind of archaeological tourism, and because by belonging to such a wide network, each site
rises in social value for the community in which it is situated. The next step would be to use technology in order to link the boards to a wider website. Thereby, the website would provide information on each ruin but would also link the sites to the various artifacts which have been unearthened and can now be found in museums across Italy and the world, as well as private collections, storage units or even pieces which because of unfortunate events have gone missing in time, but were once documented. Finally, as mentioned before, the ultimate phase would require the construction of small antiquariums for each ruin. Each structure would be different in scale and form according to the needs and potential of the archaeological site. Nonetheless, they would all have a uniform connecting aesthetic, possibly achieved through the selection of one exterior material, such as concrete. The design exercise provided above is one example of the possibilities of structures which could be built over time on the various sites. It is cost efficient, with materials that are easily transportable onto the island and because it is subdivided into three different parts, each one could be built in phases according to the availability of funding as well as growth of public interest. Ultimately, I understand the distinct financial limitations on the National Agency for Archeology and can only hope part of this is someday achieved, especially through the means of archeological NGOs and student led projects such as this one.
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This volume is the culmination of my undergraduate degree for the Distinguished Majors Program in Interdisciplinary Studies (Arts Administra...
Published on May 23, 2019
This volume is the culmination of my undergraduate degree for the Distinguished Majors Program in Interdisciplinary Studies (Arts Administra...