Somma Vesuviana

Villa of Augustus

The villa is situated in the locality of Starza della Regina which lies on the northern slopes of Vesuvius, in the Municipality of Somma Vesuviana.
The building was partially excavated between 1934-36 by Matteo Della Corte under the supervision of Amedeo Maiuri. His excavations revealed the remains of a large, palatial country house, possibly even an imperial villa belonging to the emperor Augustus.
The excavations currently cover 1500 sq. m., but it has been estimated that the complex must have been considerably larger, covering at least 10,000 sq. m.

Excavation work carried out by the University of Tokyo between 2001 and 2006 has revealed a number of spacious rooms including one hexagonal in plan divided in two by a wall composed of four arches.

The north wall of this room has a colonnade of marble Corinthian columns while in the south wall there is a grand portal, surmounted by a pediment, and decorated with Dionysian symbols.
Niches in the west and east walls of the room contained statuary, including, from the west wall, a fine marble statue of a peplofora (a wearer of a peplo, a type of dress)
. The central niche in the east wall also held a statue, sadly badly damaged, but identifiable as being of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. To the west of this room, a second room with large doors on the north and south walls appears to have undergone a change from domestic to commercial use. In this room were found a millstone, fragments of dolia and the remains of an oven.

Because of its position north of Vesuvius the building appears to have survived the AD79 eruption, but was engulfed by subsequent eruptions between 472 and 1631.

Other finds in the property
include mosaic paving and the remnants of polychrome stucco on several walls.

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