Spanish Archaeologists Continue Works to Recover the Elaborate Villa of the Emperor Hadrian

Spanish Archaeologists Continue Works to Recover the Elaborate Villa of the Emperor Hadrian

(Read the article on one page)

In the second century AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian ordered the construction of a villa for his personal enjoyment as he was not content in his official palace on Palatine Hill. Located on the outskirts of Tivoli, Rome, Hadrian’s villa was actually a small town – complete with palaces, fountains, baths, and a number of buildings that imitated the different architectural styles of the Egyptians and Greeks. Now, a team of Spanish archaeologists has been excavating the site to determine the distribution of the various elements that made up Hadrian’s villa (Villa Adriana in Italian).

According to information published by the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, the team is a group of experts consisting of archaeologists, researchers, and students of the University Pablo de Olavide (UPO) in Seville, who have been involved in the excavations of Hadrian’s villa since 2003. With a total of 120 hectares to study, this season of excavations will focus on the area of ​​the Palazzo.

Imperial palace of the Villa Adriana, Tivoli.

Imperial palace of the Villa Adriana, Tivoli. (Public Domain)

"We are in a central area of the villa, in a significant area of the villa, because it is the first residential building constructed by the Emperor Hadrian in the Villa Adriana. The area 'Palazzo' has many problems and it is not yet understood, there are many doubts about many interpretive aspects of this sector of the villa that we intend to solve with our project,” said the director of the project and professor of Archaeology at UPO, Rafael Hidalgo .

Throughout the 13 years of fieldwork, they have found that there were originally three courtyards with wooden floors, marble walls of different colors in the imperial residence and, although most of the decoration was plundered, there are still some remnants which clearly show Hadrian’s passion for ostentation and luxury.

"Playing with pieces of marble that we finding in excavations, we can reconstruct what all this was before it was sacked. We know that these spaces were decorated with marble, both the floor and the walls," Rafael Hidalgo told La Vanguardia.

Black and white mosaic pavement; on the background wall: traces of frescoes and of opus reticulatum. From the Hospitalia at the Villa Adriana in Tivoli.

Black and white mosaic pavement; on the background wall: traces of frescoes and of opus reticulatum. From the Hospitalia at the Villa Adriana in Tivoli. (Public Domain)

To date, one of the most important discoveries that the Spanish experts have brought to light in the area of ​​the "Palazzo", has been the oldest known Roman 'stibadium' (banquet hall) - a room that became fashionable during the Roman empire, although its origin is much older.

They were also able to confirm that there were a number of indoor rooms in the residential palace, exclusively for the use of the emperor, that open onto a central courtyard. There was a great fountain with two individual latrines on the sides as well.

“The individual latrine is a very important feature of the Villa Adriana because the use of latrines in the Roman world did not have the same concept of privacy that we have today, so it is very unusual that a Roman building has a latrine with a single seat” Hidalgo explained to La Vanguardia.

Finally, the palace was also found to have housed, as expected, a "garden terrace", which in turn flowed into a large porch.

The UPO team during excavation work in the 'stibadium.’

The UPO team during excavation work in the 'stibadium.’(

Featured Image: Canopus of Hadrian’s Villa. (Public Domain)

By Mariló T. A.

This article was first published in Spanish at and has been translated with permission.


That imperial palace looks like it use to have a dome. earthquake did it in ?
just how much older is that mosaic floor ? It is Amazing that statue is still there :) when So many have vanished; into oblivion.

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Asokan pillar at Vaishali, Bihar, India.
Centuries removed from the prehistoric Indus Valley Region, the Mauryan and Kushan dynasties are among the most significant cultural and artistic regimes in Indian history. The prominence of the Mauryan's longest leader, and the interactions of the Kushan with their Persian, Chinese, and Greek neighbors creates distinctive visual narratives that have shaped the culture of India as it is today.

Human Origins

Detail of ‘God creating the Sun, the Moon and the Stars’ by Jan Brueghel the Younger.
Although most mainstream scientists and most of the developed world now accept the theory of evolution and the scientifically established age of Earth and the universe, there is still a group of people that resist the status quo and insist, based on a particular literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11 in the Hebrew Bible

Ancient Technology

Representation of an ancient Egyptian chariot.
The wheel can be considered mankind’s most important invention, the utility of which is still applied in multiple spheres of our daily life. While most other inventions have been derived from nature itself, the wheel is 100% a product of human imagination. Even today, it would be difficult to imagine what it would be like without wheels, since movement as we know it would be undeniably impossible.


El Caracol Observatory at Chichen Itza (Wright Reading/CC BY-NC 2.0) and Composite 3D laser scan image of El Caracol from above
In 1526, the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo arrived on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and found most of the great Maya cities deeply eroded and unoccupied. Many generations removed from the master builders, engineers, and scientists who conceived and built the cities, the remaining Maya they encountered had degenerated into waring groups who practiced blood rituals and human sacrifice.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article