Villa of the Quintilii

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Villa of the Quintilii
Villa dei Quintili

Villa quintili.jpg

Ruins of the Villa dei Quintili.
Location map Italy Rome.png
Archaeological site icon (red).svg
Shown within Rome
Location Rome, Italy
Region Lazio
Coordinates 41°49′49.72″N12°33′5.11″E / 41.8304778°N 12.5514194°E / 41.8304778; 12.5514194 Coordinates: 41°49′49.72″N12°33′5.11″E / 41.8304778°N 12.5514194°E / 41.8304778; 12.5514194
Type Dwelling
Periods Roman Imperial
Cultures Roman
Site notes
Condition Ruined
Ownership Public
Public access Yes
Website Official website

The Villa of the Quintilii (Italian: Villa dei Quintili) is an ancient Roman villa beyond the fifth milestone along the Via Appia Antica just outside the traditional boundaries of Rome, [1] Italy. It was built by the rich and cultured brothers Sextus Quintilius Valerius Maximus and Sextus Quintilius Condianus (consuls in 151 AD). [2]

Roman villa type of rural settlement of ancient Rome without walling

A Roman villa was a country house built for the upper class in the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, similar in form to the hacienda estates in the colonies of the Spanish Empire.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

The ruins of this villa suburbana are of such an extent that when they were first excavated, the site was called Roma Vecchia ("Old Rome") by the locals, as they occupied too great a ground, it seemed, to have been anything less than a town. [3] The nucleus of the villa was constructed in the time of Hadrian. The villa included extensive thermae fed by its own aqueduct, and, what was even more unusual, a hippodrome, which dates to the fourth century, when the villa was Imperial property: the emperor Commodus coveted the villa strongly enough to put to death its owners in 182 and confiscate it for himself.

Hadrian 2nd-century Roman Emperor

Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus in Italica, near Santiponce, Spain into a Hispano-Roman family. His father was of senatorial rank and was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. He married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career, before Trajan became emperor and possibly at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor immediately before his death.

<i>Thermae</i> public facilities for bathing in ancient Rome

In ancient Rome, thermae and balneae were facilities for bathing. Thermae usually refers to the large imperial bath complexes, while balneae were smaller-scale facilities, public or private, that existed in great numbers throughout Rome.

Roman aqueduct type of aqueduct built by the Romans

The Romans constructed aqueducts throughout their Republic and later Empire, to bring water from outside sources into cities and towns. Aqueduct water supplied public baths, latrines, fountains, and private households; it also supported mining operations, milling, farms, and gardens.

View in Luigi Rossini, Viaggio pittoresco da Roma a Napoli, 1839 Rossini - viaggio pittoresco tav19 - veduta di Roma vecchia.jpg
View in Luigi Rossini, Viaggio pittoresco da Roma a Napoli, 1839

In 1776 Gavin Hamilton, the entrepreneurial painter and purveyor of Roman antiquities, excavated some parts of the Villa of the Quintilii, still called "Roma Vecchia", and the sculptures he uncovered revealed the imperial nature of the site:

Gavin Hamilton (artist) 18th-century Scottish painter

Gavin Hamilton was a Scots neoclassical history painter, who is more widely remembered for his hunts for antiquities in the neighbourhood of Rome. These roles in combination made him an arbiter of neoclassical taste.

A considerable ruin is seen near this last upon the right hand, and is generally considered to have been the ruins of a Villa of Domitian's nurse. The fragments of Collossal Statues found near this ruin confirms me in this opinion, the excellent sculptour strengthens this supposition... [4]

There he found five marble sculptures, including "An Adonis asleep", [5] that he sold to Charles Townley and have come to the British Museum and "A Bacchante with the tyger", listed as sold to Mr Greville. [6] The large marble relief of Asclepius found at the site passed from Hamilton to the Earl of Shelburne, later Marquess of Lansdowne, at Lansdowne House, London. [7] The "Braschi Venus" from the site was purchased by Pius VI's nephew, Luigi Braschi Onesti.

Charles Townley Collector of Roman antiquities

Charles Townley FRS was a wealthy English country gentleman, antiquary and collector. He travelled on three Grand Tours to Italy, buying antique sculpture, vases, coins, manuscripts and Old Master drawings and paintings. Many of the most important pieces from his collection, especially the Townley Marbles are now in the British Museum's Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities. The marbles were overshadowed at the time, and still today, by the Elgin Marbles.

British Museum National museum in the Bloomsbury area of London

The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been widely sourced during the era of the British Empire. It documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world.

Charles Francis Greville British antiquarian, collector and politician

Charles Francis Greville PC FRS FRSE FLS FSA was a British antiquarian, collector and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1774 to 1790.

"Braschi Venus", from the Villa of the Quintilii (Glyptothek, Munich). Aphrodite Braschi Glyptothek Munich 258.jpg
"Braschi Venus", from the Villa of the Quintilii (Glyptothek, Munich).

Today the archeological site houses a museum [8] with marble friezes and sculptures that once adorned the villa. The nympheum , the hall of the tepidarium and the baths may also be visited. A grand terrace overlooking the Via Appia Nuova, which dates back to 1784, commands a fine view of the Castelli Romani district. The villa's grounds extended even beyond the route of the Via Appia Nuova.

Tepidarium warm bathroom of the Roman baths

The tepidarium was the warm (tepidus) bathroom of the Roman baths heated by a hypocaust or underfloor heating system. The speciality of a tepidarium is the pleasant feeling of constant radiant heat which directly affects the human body from the walls and floor.

See also


  1. The villa lies in the Parco Regionale dell'Appia Antica.
  2. The modern monograph is A. Ricci, Le villa dei Quintilii (Rome 1998).
  3. Robert Piperno, "Villa of the Quintilii"; Touring Club Italiano, Roma e dintorni 1965:401. Charlotte Eaton's guides informed her that these were "the remains of a small Roman town, whose name is unknown" though she was aware that "no remains of temples or theatres can be traced". (Eaton, Rome in the Nineteenth Century,vol II London, 1820, pp 211ff.).
  4. Hamilton to Charles Townley, quoted in Cornelius Vermeule, 'Graeco-Roman Statues: Purpose and Setting - II: Literary and Archaeological Evidence for the Display and Grouping of Graeco-Roman Sculpture", Burlington Magazine110 No. 788 (November 1968:607-613) p. 612.
  5. "Endymion asleep on Mount Latmus, according to Vermeule.
  6. The "Adonis" and "Bacchante" appear in a list of "Ancient marbles found by Mr Gavin Hamilton in various Ruins near Rome since 1769", annexed to a volume of transcripts of the Hamilton-Townley correspondence, published by G. J. Hamilton and A. H. Smith, "Gavin Hamilton's Letters to Charles Townley" The Journal of Hellenic Studies21 (1901:306-321); the Townley "Bacchante" at the British Museum is "merely a draped female with a bunch of grapes in the left hand and a panther beside the lower limbs" according to Vermeule; it had been called a "Libera" and "found by Mr. Gavin Hamilton, at Roma Vecchia", in Charles Knight, Guide cards to the antiquities in the British Museum 1840.
  7. Vermeule 1968:612, noting A.H. Smith, in Journal of Hellenic Studies21' (1901:316). Smith had identified the site as the Domus Quintiliana in The Lansdowne Marbles 1889. (Vermeule, ibid., note 14).
  8. Catalogued by Paola Brandizzi Vittucci, La collezione archeologica nel Casale di Roma Vecchia (Rome) 1982.

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