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Villa Carmiano

Description of the Villa

The Villa Carmiano is located in Carmiano in the municipality of Gragnano, a little less than a mile from the plateau of Varano. The building was unearthed during excavations carried out by Libero D'Orsi in 1963 but due to a lack of funds excavations were halted and the building was re-buried in 1998.

Unlike many other properties in the surrounding area, the Villa Carmiano was a previously un-excavated site. This allowed archaeologists to explore the building in a measured and scientific way and as a result they recovered a large number of everyday artifacts that would probably otherwise have been discarded.

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Next to the store room was the villa's kitchen (d) which had a brick oven in its north east corner.
The large area consisting of rooms (e) and (f) between the kitchen and the residential part of the house formed the villa's torcularium. The lower part (f) was the calcatorium where the grapes were trodden in a tub while the raised part (e) to the south was where the final extraction of the juice from the pre-trodden grapes was performed by means of a press. The grape juice produced ran into a round vat sunk in the floor; from here it was transferred to one of 12 dolia situated in the wine store (g) to ferment. The wine store had a capacity of approximately 7,000 litres of wine.
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The triclinium (h) was located off the south side of the colonnade with the intercolumnation widened in front of its entrance to allow a clear view of the room from the internal court. The fourth style frescoes were inspired by the Dionysiac cycle which is entirely appropriate for such a working establishment: the original rite of Dionysus, as introduced into Greece, is almost universally held to have been associated with a cult concerned with the cultivation of the grape and its fermentation into wine.
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On the wall facing the entrance to the room was the Triumph of Bacchus depicting Bacchus and Ariadne riding in a cart pulled by two bulls (The top is the fresco is in fact missing and the figures are assumed by the purple mantle of Bacchus and the blue tunic of Ariadne). On the west wall was a picture of Neptune and Amymone (pictured upper right) showing Neptune's seduction of Amymone after her rescue from a chthonic satyr while the east wall contained the scene of Bacchus and Ceres (pictured right) where the couple are depicted seated on the back a horse. Ceres has her hair in a golden net, while Bacchus sits quite naked. In the background can be seen a pair of dolphins.

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The villa rustica covered an area of about 400 sq.m. and dates from the last quarter of the first century BC. Little is known of the owner, save that his initials, which were found on a bronze seal, were MAR.A S. Also, considering the quality of the frescoes found in the villa, the owner must have been reasonably well off.
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The entrance (a) on the north side of the building was wide enough for carts and wagons. It opened onto a central court which was colonnaded on three sides. Immediately to the left of the entrance was a dog kennel while ranged round the peristyle (b) were a series of rooms given over to both domestic and residential use. The temple style lararium (pictured left) was dedicated to Minerva
.  Measuring 232cm x126cm it was painted in the colours red, white and blue and depicted Minerva sitting on a golden throne with a helmet in one hand and a spear in the other.
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Room (c) on the east side of the building appears to have been a storeroom; it was here that a large quantity of pottery and farm implements were found.
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The decoration of the triclinium consisted of red panels with floating figures above a lower frieze containing framed images of fantastic sea creatures on a yellow ground (pictured left).
The central panel on each wall contained a mythological scene.
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