• Cosiddetta Tomba
  • Villa Adriana
  • Tiburtina Villa
  • Italy
  • Lazio
  • Rome
  • Tivoli


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  • No period data has been added yet


  • 100 AD - 200 AD


    • The circular monument known as the "Sepulchre" or the "Tomb," situated at the northern margins of the complex of Hadrian's Villa (between Piazza d'Oro and the Inferi), has been the object of cleaning and excavation. The building, which has always remained visible, was reproduced in the Ligorio-Contini plan of 1668 and in the general plan of the villa done by Francesco Piranesi in 1781, plans thanks to which we are knowledgeable about architectural details which are lost today. The structure is accessible through a narrow vaulted door, and is composed by an annular corridor illuminated by small windows and a small central room covered by a dome. Brick stamps of the Hadrianic age (123 - 124 AD) found in situ, fragments of columns of the Doric order, and the presence of a large portion of a curved epistyle, appear to exclude the traditional theory that the building was a funerary monument preexisting the construction of the Villa. The structure must have been rather a pavilion or a chapel equipped with marble columns, at least in one phase, and accessible by means of two stairs, as was possible to see following the investigation. Analysis of the wall system has shown that the monument suffered a radical modification in the course of the late Hadrianic age.
    • During this campaign investigation continued of the circular monument (the so-called Sepolcro or Tomba) and a new excavation was undertaken on a nearby rectangular building which was probably a small temple with a frontal flight of steps. As regards the so-called Sepolcro, the trench opened in 2003 was completed and partly enlarged and trenches were put in above the central circular space of the building which removed parts of the apparent tumulus. These investigations clarified various aspects of the monuments history: the floor levels around the building had been completely destroyed, the light well was built in the same phase as the construction of the drum, the flight of steps was built up against a buttress, the structure present on the opposite side of the monument is certainly modern and the peristyle reconstructed by Piranesi around the drum is in reality situated above it. These elements, together with an accurate survey of the structure provide the basis for the first hypothetical reconstructions of the plan and walls. During the next campaign it is planned to extend the excavation around the Sepolcro and partially remove the deposit covering the drum. This will enable the investigation of the central space, which must surely have a decorative marble pavement and statues or sculpted decoration. (Alessandro Betori-Zaccaria Mari)
    • In July 2010 trenches were excavated in two distinct areas inside Hadrian’s villa. The first sector, situated in the ex-campsite, north of the so-called mausoleum, saw the continuation of excavations in the proximity of a substantial circular, cement foundation with a facing of small, uniform tufa blocks which had already been investigated in previous campaigns. In particular, a trench was opened to the north-west of the latter which revealed a new structure about 9 m away. The new structure was an imposing cement base with an apparently rectangular plan on a north-west/south-east alignment, of which only the southern corner was uncovered. This structure, like the one immediately to the south, had been completely robbed of the marble facing that was certainly originally present judging by the numerous impressions and complete housing cavities for the shuttering visible at several points of the foundation, in particular the western front. To the west a band of mosaic flooring with large, white marble tesserae with coloured inserts is, for the moment, the only surviving decorative element. It seems to indicate the presence in this building of an architectural element that has already been documented in other structures of the same villa, the use of which was probably methodically repeated, in particular as an external border for opus sectile flooring. It must be specified that the excavation was almost exclusively limited to the emptying of modern trenches but did however bring to light a substantial amount of material, pottery in particular, contrary to previous campaigns during which pottery finds relative rare. Other smaller cleaning and excavation interventions in the same area uncovered accumulations of marble used in the modern period to form the foundation of a metal fence on the south side of the circular foundation. These included fragments of white marble Doric column drums and capitals and, above all, numerous fragments of drapery from female statues with chiton and himation (worthy of note a shoulder with button), some of which joining to those found in the fill of the circular foundation in previous years.
    • In September 2011, the excavation continued work in the aeras opened in 2009 and 2010. In the area of the ex-campsite, trenches II and VI were extended. In the first case, excavation was limited to the examination of a modern accumulation of marble chippings south of the circular foundation. More fragments of statue drapery were recovered together with elements of the Doric order which in many cases joined to fragments found earlier. The extension of trench VI, shed more light on the substantial cement foundation found nine metres west of the curved foundation. This was a rectangular structure, on a south-west/north-east alignment, of which only the south-west front, 8.50 m wide, has been excavated so far. Only the cement core, including impressions and housings for marble steps (robbed), was preserved. In this building, as in others within the Hadrianic complex, the staircase only abutted the actual rectangular foundation at a later point during the construction process. The find of a large quadrangular tank in the eastern part of the foundation, together with the imprints and layout mentioned above, suggest that this building was a temple, or rather a rectangular pavilion of the type already widely documented in the villa itself, for example by the so-called Mausoleum or the small temples facing the Antinoeion. A large amount of pottery and glass fragments were collected, unfortunately from disturbed layers. During the next campaign, work will continue on the rectangular structure in trench VI in order to gain an understanding of its layout and function in relation to the nearby curved foundation in trench II. In this trench, work will continue on the accumulation of marble fragments below the modern fencing.
    • Excavation continued in the sectors opened during the 2011-2012 campaigns. Trenches VI and VII, situated in the ex-campsite, were extended and three _sondages_ were opened in the immediate vicinity. In the first case, small interventions clarified the nature of the deposits filling the _opus_ _caementicium_ temple podium and confirmed, through the extension of the trench on the south-west side, the presence of a wide road in front of the temple. The road was paved with a mosaic of large tesserae, now almost completely gone. New evidence emerged in trench VII where earlier campaigns had exposed a substantial rectilinear foundation built of irregular tufa blocks, with a quadrangular forepart at its western end. This massive wall, on a north-east/south-west alignment, must have screened the temple podium to the north (trench VI), and separated, on a higher level, buildings of diverse function situated further west. Two previously unknown structures of a certain importance emerged in this area, made up of four rectangular structures aligned along an _opus_ _reticulatum_ wall running parallel to the massive foundation. It was clear that a number of these structures were related to water supply. What was probably an apsidal fountain was situated in the south-west corner of the structure, fronted by rectangular basins connected by a quadrangular channel. The fountain may have had a portico of which two travertine plinths were uncovered, while in the north-east room, only partially excavated, there were traces of a mosaic of white tesserae. The presence of several layers of lime incrustations, some of which were very thick, suggests a continuous flow of water and the possibility that the structures functioned as a settling tank, a suggestion confirmed by the neighbouring distribution basin with underground _cuniculi_ published by Salza Prina Ricotti in 1982. The water flow must have been substantial in this sector of the villa, not far from the _castellum_ _aquae_ in Piazza d’Oro and close to the great bath complex a little further west on the lower level of the so-called _Pretorium_. The building under excavation appeared to have adopted an architectural solution that combined the aesthetic qualities of a fountain with the fundamental function of purifying the waters. In the same context the excavation intercepted construction site levels and small middens that contained a large amount of pottery. The later occupation phases were attested by coins of Probus and 5th century _nummi_ found in the abandonment layers. The next campaign will continue the excavation of this complex of rooms, with the removal of collapse and emptying of the basins. Other interventions will investigate the small walls built of stone and reused tile fragments identified in the _sondages_ located north-east of the temple podium, which perhaps formed the flowerbeds of a garden.


    • Alessandro Betori. 2004. Il "Sepolcro" di villa Adriana. FOLD&R Italy: 4.
    • Alessandro Betori, Zaccaria Mari. 2005. Tivoli, Villa Adriana, edificio circolare noto come Sepolcro o Tomba, campagna di scavo 2004, breve sintesi dei risultati. FOLD&R Italy: 44.


    • C.F. Giuliani, 1988, “La Villa”, in AA.VV., Villa Adriana, Roma: 73-101.
    • W.L. Macdonald, J.A. Pinto, 1995, Hadrians Villa and Its Legacy, New Haven – London: 121 ss.
    • A. Betori, Z. Mari, 2005, Villa Adriana: novità da recenti scavi e considerazioni su significato e cronologia delle stesure musive omogenee a grandi tessere, in Atti dell’XI Colloquio dell’Associazione Italiana per lo Studio e la Conservazione del Mosaico, Ancona 16-19 febbraio 2005, c.s.
    • P. Pensabene, E. Gallocchio, 2004, Campagne di scavo 2003/2004 dell'Università "La Sapienza" di Roma presso il cosiddetto "Mausoleo"di Villa Adriana, in Rileggere l’Antico. Architetture di epoca imperiale: metodi, tecniche e modelli a confronto, Atti Convegno Roma Complesso Monumentale di S. Michele a Ripa 13-15 dicembre 2004, c.s.
    • M.G. Picozzi, 1996, Un ritratto da Villa Adriana e il busto inv. 525 della Stanza dei Filosofi del Museo Capitolino, in M.G. Picozzi-F. Carinci (a cura di), Studi in memoria di Lucia Guerrini: Vicino Oriente, Egeo, Grecia, Roma e mondo romano, tradizione dell’antico e collezionismo di antichità, Roma (=Studi Miscellanei, 30): 129-144.
    • P. Pensabene, A. Ottati, 2010, Il cosidetto Mausoleo e l’ordine dorico a Villa Adriana, in M. Sapelli Ragni (a cura di ), Villa Adriana. Una storia mai finita. Novità e prospettive di ricerca. Milano: 120-128.
    • P. Pensabene, A. Ottati, 2010, Nuove testimonianze dell’architettura dorica a Villa Adriana,in AA.VV., Lazio e Sabina 6, Atti del sesto incontro di studi sul Lazio e la Sabina, Roma 4-6-marzo 2009. Roma: 23-38.
    • A. Betori, Z. Mari. 2005. Tivoli, Villa Adriana, edificio circolare noto come Sepolcro o Tomba, campagna di scavo 2004, breve sintesi dei risultati. FOLD&R: 44.
    • A. Betori, 2004, Il \"Sepolcro\" di villa Adriana. FOLD&R: 4.
    • P. Pensabene, A. Ottati, P. Fileri, 2012, Nuovi scavi e prospettive di ricerca nella parte orientale della Villa Adriana, in Scienze dell’Antichità 17, 2011, pp. 687-714. Roma, 2012.
    • P. Pensabene, A. Ottati, P. Fileri, in c.d.s, Un complesso monumentale inedito nella zona orientale della Villa Adriana, in Congreso Internacional Arqueología Clásica, Centro y periferia en el mundo clásico Mérida, Museo Nacional de Arte Romano. 13-17 Mayo, 2013
    • E. Salza Prina Ricotti, 1982, Villa Adriana nei suoi limiti e nella sua funzionalità, in Rendiconti della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, serie III, Memorie XIV pp. 25-55.