Having visited Pompeii previously and more recently, MAR Positano, you can get a little spoilt when it comes to getting your Roman history fix. Pompeii is a huge architectural site: an entire maritime city in fact, a snapshot of Roman civilization, frozen in time. MAR Positano, on a much smaller scale, only a small corner of the Villa having been excavated at this time, is a beautifully presented look into Roman life.
Villa Romana Minori
Villa Marittima Romana Minori, which dates back to the 1C AD (30 – 60 AD) was not discovered until 1932. A partial collapse during the renovations of a local property, led to the discovery of an underground room (#9 on the plan) belonging to the villa. Works to redirect the river also revealed other structures relating to the Villa.
Excavations did not begin until 1934. However it was not until after the flood in 1954 at which time it was buried again, that the villa was again brought to light. Houses and gardens that had been built on top of it were demolished. Rooms that had been used as cellars cleared. The result? What we see today. A well preserved ground floor of an ancient maritime Roman Villa: preserved ironically, because of the floods and debris from the houses built on top of it. Little remains of the upper level which was probably covered in wooden terraces facing the sea, except for fragments of the mosaic floor.
Along this same axis but in the villa itself, with views across the pool and through to the sea, is the most important room of the complex – the Triclinium-nymphaeum (dining room). Instead of the usual three triclinio normally found in such a room, only two masonry beds are seen here.
The vaulted ceiling of this room is the oldest example of this type of ceiling in the western world – further emphasizing the historical importance of this discovery. You will notice that the triclinium beds each have a channel running down the length of them. This was for the washing of hands and for spitting into. Water cascaded down the marble clad stairs in the northern wall, into a pool along that same wall, flowed into the channels and was then fed out to the viridarium via an underground channel.
The mosaic floor
Terme - the spa
This short video courtesy of http://incampania.com/en/location/12558/ gives you a little peek at what Villa Romana Minori may have looked like when it was built.
If you love Roman history and you are visiting the Amalfi Coast, I would thoroughly recommend you pay a visit to MAR Positano. Located in Positano, beneath the Chiesa di S.S. Maria Assunta, lies the most fascinating, historical and cultural treasure: Villa Romana (La Villa D’ozio). You can discover more here. (Positano’s hidden treasure: a guided tour)
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