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date: 19 February 2020

Hadrian’s Villa (Tivoli)locked

  • F. B. Sear,
  • Dericksen Brinkerhoff
  •  and John Pinto



The summer palace of the emperor Hadrian, built between AD 118 and 134 and situated on an elevated plateau south-west of Tivoli. Its unusual architecture and wealth of sculpture and mosaics have fascinated artists and scholars since the Renaissance.

F. B. Sear

The buildings on the 120 ha site (see fig. ) were named after such celebrated landmarks as the Lyceum, the Academy, and the Stoa Poikile at Athens (see Augustan History: Hadrian xxvi.5), although they were not precise copies of these monuments, but followed a Republican tradition established by such men as Cicero, who had an Academy and a Lyceum in his villa at Tusculum. The site was fairly level, but high enough to command views of Rome. The ground fell away to the north-east to form a broad, secluded valley known as the Vale of Tempe. In typical Roman fashion all the elements are a blend of art and nature. Practically every group of buildings is organized around a peristyle garden, ranging from the vast, park-like enclosure of the Poikile (a) to the small and intimate garden in the nymphaeum (b), although little is known of their actual plantings (...

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