Hadrian’s Villa

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Hadrian built a wall in Northern England, but also a vast country villa some 40 km north east of Rome at Tivoli; Villa Adriana (remember in Italian there is no ‘h’)

The AD 118-138 ruins are incredible; much more substantial than anything we have seen before. Baths with high arches, three story libraries and a vast area for hospitality. Shame though that the centrepiece – Hadrian’s inner sanctum, the Teatro Marittimo – is off-limits due to restoration work.

We had a discussion about Ancient Roman sexuality. There’s a temple here to Hadrian’s teenage lover, Antinous, who died in the River Nile when he was 20 years old. There is plenty of interesting speculation as to how and why he died…

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