Villa of the Figured Capitals

Description of the Villa

The villa, also known as the Villa of the Mosaic Columns, lies to the rear of the bars and shops lining the northern side of the Via dei Sepolcri. It is accessed by two entrances (A) and (B) set between these commercial properties.
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Entrance (A) leads via a long passage to an open garden area (C) which had as its focus a nymphaeum (D) fronted by a pergola supported on four columns, the mosaic columns after which the villa was named.

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On the north west side of this garden area, a wide entrance gives access to a second open area, which was also accessed directly from the Via del Sepolcri by means of entrance (B).
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During the excavations, however, a remarkable piece of glassware was found - the 'blue vase'. Imitating the shape of an amphora, the glass vase is double-layered with a dark blue background and a cameo-engraved opaque white layer showing Dionysiac scenes (right).
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The columns were completely encrusted in mosaics with bands of imbrications, floral ornament and small decorative figures. After their discovery, the columns were subsequently removed and can now be seen in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples (below and left).

The same display room in the museum also includes other finds from the villa including the fine mosaic of the fighter pictured below right.
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This second garden area has a lararium (E) in its south west corner. Beyond the colonnade to the north, is the entrance to the main living quarters.

The condition of the villa beyond this point is poor, with little remaining decoration and what survives of the property tends to be in a ruinous condition.
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The Villa is the subject of a research project by the San Francisco State University. The Via Consolare Project covers research into the chronology and stratigraphic record of the environs of the villa together with a study of Insula VII, 6.




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