Hadrian's Villa--page 5 (of nine pages): Piazza d'Oro

Architect unknown; it is likely that Hadrian participated in the design and planning of his villa
early 2nd century CE

Included on this site are the following areas of the villa:
page 1: the Pecile and the Heliocaminus Bath
page 2: areas of or near the Imperial Palace, including the Building with Doric Pillars
page 3: Maritime Theater
page 4: Philosophers' Chamber and Greek and Roman Libraries
page 5: Piazza d'Oro
page 6: Building with Fishpond and Large Baths
page 7: Praetorium, Small Baths and Vestibule, Nymphaeum with three Exedra
page 8: the Canopus
page 9: the Serapeum and the Temple of Venus


The Piazza d'Oro (or the Golden Square)

The name of this area in the villa originated from the fact that some of the most sumptuous architectural and sculptural finds came from this precinct. The richness of the finds indicates that this part of the villa was probably used for important public functions. However, since the 16th century, it has been stripped by treasure-hunters.

Vestibule/The entrance--from outside and from inside

This entrance on the north was a pumpkin-shaped structure--an octagonal ribbed vault.


Looking back toward the entrance

A grand portico enclosed a garden with a rectangular pool in the center. The principal rooms are on the south side opposite the entrance.

Remaining pillars and brick semi-columns of the grand portico that surrounded the square; left and center showing the wall surrounding the area


Center: entrance to cryptoporticus that runs along northern side of the Piazza d'Oro; smaller room on one side of the Vestibule

The vestibule/entrance at one time was framed by smaller rooms, one of which is partially preserved today.

Polychrome mosaic floor with rhombus motifs

"The subtly different shades of color were obtained through skillful application of the various tones and the use of very small tesserae" (Adembri 73.)

Nympheum on south side on axis with the vestibule

The principal rooms are on the south. A large hall with a semicircular nympheum was at the far end.

Nympheum on south side on axis with the vestibule


Structure on the southeast


Structure on the northeast corner--at right angles with the Vestibule/Entrance


Sequence of rooms leading back on both sides of the nymphaeum

I don't recall where this was. If you know, please send me an email. (Address below.)

Latrine; mosaic detail

Continue to page 6.

Work Cited and/or Consulted:
Benedetta Adembri. Hadrian's Villa [official guidebook]. Milan: Electa, 2000.
Nicoletto Lanciano. Hadrian's Villa: between heaven and earth. Rome: Apeiron, 2005.

Click here to return to index of art historical sites.

Click here to return to index of artists and architects.

Click here to return to chronological index.

Click here to see the home page of Bluffton University.

© 2005 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

Page created by Mary Ann Sullivan