What it is and where it is
In what is now Spoleto's Market Square was once the Roman forum. Among the recognizable buildings in this archaeological area is one that stands out for its charm. It is a Domus, known as the Casa Romana, which, centuries later, still features splendid mosaics and wall decorations. It is not hard to imagine that such a beautiful house must have belonged to a prominent personage of the time, and there are some very interesting hypotheses that would link it to a woman, Vespasiana Polla, none other than the mother of Emperor Vespasian!
Why it is special
Entering the domus, one immediately feels like a guest of Vespasian: the division of its rooms immediately brings us back to the architectural scheme used in patrician houses built between the end of the Republican and the beginning of the Imperial age, and they preserve beautiful paved mosaics almost intact. After a short corridor we enter the central hall, the Atrium, at the center of which we can admire the Impluvium, a square-shaped basin in which rainwater was collected and then conveyed into the 7-meter-deep cistern below.
Not to be missed
Immediately after the Atrium you enter the Ablinum, the most elegant and wealthy room in the house, a place dedicated to the family, political and social activities of the owner. This hall is flanked by two smaller rooms whose decoration probably dates to a later period. The left room probably originally communicated with the Peristilium, which was an inner garden enclosed by a portico. Surrounding the atrium are two bedrooms (cubicola), and two open rooms (alae). The Black and White Tile Paved Mosaics have geometric designs with traces of encaustic decoration.
A bit of history
The Roman House was discovered in the late 19th century by Spoleto archaeologist Giuseppe Sordini, who devoted himself to its restoration until his death in 1914. Despite multiple restorations done over time, the type of masonry and the style of the frescoes and mosaics place the Roman House in the first century AD.
Undeniably, the refinement of the frescoes and mosaics indicate that the Domus belonged to a very important personage, but why do we tend to identify this person specifically with Vespasian's mother? It all stems from the discovery during excavations of an inscription dedicated to Emperor Caligula and signed by Polla. Just this surname this surname cannot help but suggest that the house belonged to Vespasiana Polla who originated from the area between Norcia and Spoleto.
To make travel arrangements
Discover places and related research