Friday, August 28, 2015


Shrine with simple plan and only two rooms with parts in opus reticulatum (reticulated work) of the Augustan period (27 BC/14), but almost entirely rebuilt in concrete covered with bricks by Hadrian (117/138)
Some scholars have mistakenly identified it with the Auguratorium, the place where the priests known as Auguri, in charge of forecasting the future, used to take the so called auspices before a major event, observing the flight of birds facing southeast

Instead, it is probably the SACELLO DI VICTORIA VIRGO (Shrine of Victoria Virgo) built in 193 BC by Marcus Cato Porcio next to the Temple of Victory
In the foundations an earlier archaic shrine was found, made out of big square blocks of “cappellaccio” stone, covered by a late-Republican concrete construction, probably corresponding to the ancient Sacello di Iuno Sospita (Shrine of Juno Sospita)

Eighteen rooms in concrete covered with bricks dating around the age of Nero (54/68)
On the VAULTS there are remains of fresco paintings, unfortunately very damaged, dated around the third century AD
The numerous graffiti led to suppose that it was a sort of service areas, perhaps intended for guards
Here was found the beautiful statue of Charis now in the Palatine Museum

Next to the House of Livia there are two circular tanks close together dating back to the archaic period

House attributed to Livia, wife of Augustus, after the discovery of some lead pipes with the inscription Iulia Augusta
It was excavated in 1869 by Pietro Rosa for Napoleon III
The house is datable to the first century BC, but at least two different phases of construction have been recognized: 75/50 BC for the walls in opus reticulatum (concrete covered with bricks) and about 30 BC for the paintings

All rooms have remains of mosaic floors in simple black and white colors
The access to the dwelling, located at a lower level compared to the surrounding buildings, is down a HALLWAY with a black and white mosaic floor, which leads to a room known as ATRIUM with two pillars supporting the roof
It is more likely, however, that the true atrium was the so-called ROOM H where there are maybe elements of the impluvium (rectangular flat-bottomed tank to collect rainwater) surrounded by cubiculi (small bedrooms)

On the end side there are THREE ROOMS of which the central one is larger than the lateral ones, while on the right end side of the atrium there is maybe a triclinium with a fresco of landscape and an imageless symbol (betilo) of Diana

The TABLINUM in the center is the most important room from the pictorial point of view, even if the frescoes have faded, and it is difficult to clearly see the images
These paintings have been classified as belonging to an advanced stage of the second Pompeian style
The wall on the right is divided into three by a portico with Corinthian columns resting on high bases
The central aedicula depicts “Io, beloved by Jupiter, freed by Mercury from Argo's captivity”, a copy of a famous painting by Nikias. The girl sits at the foot of a column supporting a statue, while there are Argo on the right and Mercury on the left
On the wall on the left “Open window overlooking a busy city with various street scenes”
In the central panel of the wall “Nymph Galatea of the sea horse as she fled from Polyphemus”

In the HALL TO THE RIGHT OF THE TABLINUM still stands out the wall decoration on the left, in square panels, with festoons of leaves, flowers and fruits from which rural symbols hang
In the upper part there is a beautiful frieze on a yellow background, faded now, with “Scenes of Egyptian Life”
In the HALL TO THE LEFT OF THE TABLINUM walls are decorated with a system similar to the one of the other two rooms, with columns and pilasters on a lower part of fake marble, without any scene representing figures

Great elliptical basin with internal steps. It is assumed that it was used as a vivarium or breeding ground for fish

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