Tuesday, July 23, 2013


FIVE monumental structures and pieces of a colossal statue have been unearthed at Hadrian's Villa, the sprawling complex in the hills east of Rome where Hadrian and Antinous and the Imperial court spent most of their time when not traveling the length and breadth of the Empire.

Archaeologists came across the complex of buildings, surrounded by enormous statues in what may have been a pleasure garden ... in an area previously regarded as being of little interest.

The news shares headlines today with a SHOCKING REPORT that a mixed-use retail/residential complex is being built adjacent to Hadrian's Villa, within a buffer zone mandated by UNESCO. The development could jeopardize the Villa's status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The archaeological discovery was made by researchers from Rome's La Sapienza University, and full-scale excavation work is scheduled for September.

The excavation director Adalberto Ottati said: "What's been found is just the tip of the iceberg because these structures have never been documented before not even by scholars such as [Giovanni Battista] Piranesi who studied the ancients."

In addition to the structures, researchers discovered hundreds of marble fragments that comprise a colossal statue, possibly a representation of Hadrian's wife, Empress Vibia Sabina.

It is believed that the buildings were designed as part of an idealised landscape garden by Emperor Hadrian, who preferred living at his rural estate when not traveling to every far-flung province. He was said to have intensely disliked living in Rome and avoided the city as much as possible.

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