Villa Romana is considered to be one of Northern Italy’s most important remaining villas from the Late Roman era. In addition to vivid floor mosaics, this attraction includes a small but interesting museum of artifacts collected during excavations of the area. Discover an insight into the compelling art, architecture and engineering of the ancient Romans.
The villa was originally constructed in the first century B.C., with additional renovations taking place between the second and fourth centuries. It is believed the villa and the town were named after the villa’s original owner, Decentius. A landslide covered the site in the 12th century and the remains were finally rediscovered in 1921.
The villa extends over 2.5 acres (1 hectare) and contains a residence, garden, courtyard and a thermal sector. Be sure to watch the short video explaining the layout of the villa before exploring the site. You might notice that the rooms are designed to maximize views of the southern shore of Lake Garda.
Don’t miss the Antiquarium, a small museum located at the entrance of the villa, which displays necklaces, utensils, sculptures, portraits and other artifacts discovered on the site. Keep an eye out for a second-century glass bowl decorated with Christian symbols. Look for an ancient mill used for pressing grapes or olives, as well as two panels with recomposed frescoes.
Be sure to see the hypocaust, an underground heating room constructed under the flooring. The remains of this system are evidence of the Romans’ brilliant engineering techniques.
Take your time admiring the villa’s beautiful mosaic flooring, which was preserved for centuries under the landslide. The bright red, olive, orange and black colors depict scenes of fishing, hunting, farming and chariots. You’ll also see ancient spiritual symbols, a dog and sheep in a countryside landscape, Cupid gathering grapes and allegories of the four seasons.
Villa Romana is open throughout the week, with regular Monday closures and shortened hours from November to February. There is a small entrance fee.