Villa Adriana

Having read Marguerite Yourcenar’s “Memoirs of Hadrian” in my youth, a major highlight in the trip to Rome had to be the notorious emperor’s personal villa, just outside of Tivoli, some 30km from the empire’s capital.

In his elder years, the Hadrian ruled from there, at a convenient distance from Rome, but far enough to be a secluded and quiet countryside estate.

The scale of the compound is immense, as was the breadth of the Roman empire at the time of Hadrian. It was supposedly self-sufficient, having plenty of agricultural land around it, with enough population to be regarded as a small town.

The emperor had his court living there, as well as regular guests and imperial officials.

The plan of the villa evolved as did Hadrian himself. Many of the places were named and built after Greek and Egyptian deities and influences Hadrian interested himself with, and the several additions to the villa reflected the eclectic life, love and travels of the emperor.

Tendo lido as Memórias de Adriano de Marguerite Yourcenar na juventude, um ponto alto da viagem a Roma tinha de ser a villa pessoal do notório imperador, nos arredores de Tivoli, a uns 30km da capital do império.

Nos seus anos tardios, Adriano governou da villa, a uma distância conveniente de Roma, mas longe o suficiente para se sentir numa pacata propriedade de campo.

A escala do complexo é imensa, tal como a expansão do império Romano à data da sua vida. Seria supostamente auto-suficiente, com vários hectares de terra cultivada em seu torno, e população suficiente para funcionar como uma aldeia.

O imperador hospedava a sua corte lá, bem como convidados frequentes e funcionários imperiais.

O plano da villa evoluiu a par e passo com o próprio Adriano. Muitos dos locais eram nomeados a partir de divindades e influências Gregas e Egípcias que despertavam o interesse de Adriano, e as várias adições feitas à villa reflectem a vida, os amores e as viagens do imperador.

Author: Pedro Loureiro

I was born on the southwestern-most tip of Europe, in Lagos, Portugal. A childhood of legos and sandcastles led me to architecture school, but an adolescence of doodling drove me to sketching and later to illustration. I like to sketch, to travel and to chop vegetables into tiny manageable bits. I also like maps. The older the better!

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