Pictures of Roman Emperor 2nd century AD Hadrian’s Villa ( Villa Adriana ). Images & photos of the archaeology site of Hadrian’s Villa near Tivoli, Italy. Hadrian was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He was a just and wise Emperor who was a great patron of building projects all over the Empire. From Hadrian’s Wall between England and Scotland to The Temple of Zeus in Athens Hadrian’s architects showed great skill and innovation.
Tired of his palace on the Palatine Hill in Rome, Hadrian decided to build a Villa outside Rome at the foot of the hills below present day Tivoli. The result could hardly be called a Villa as the complex of huge buildings that were built on the 21 hector site with huge thermal baths, libraries and a water garden. At the heart of the complex is the so called Maritime Theatre (Teatro Marittimo), named after the marine architectural decorations that adorned its exterior. This ingenious building sits on a small round Islet surrounded by a moat full of water which in turn is surrounded by a circular barrel vaulted portico with 40 Ionic columns. The villa at its centre had rooms that surrounded a central peristyle and it it here that Hadrian escaped the turmoil of his duties to write poetry or just to relax away from the turmoil of his daily duties.
Hadrian, like most Romans was a great lover of the baths, where daily discussions took place and business was conducted. The site of the Villa Adriana was chosen because of its ready supply of thermal water which fed the bath complexes of the villa. Hadrian was a great admirer of the Greeks and began the fashion in Rome of wearing beards as the ancient Greeks had done. He also travelled to all parts of his empire and brought back ideas to incorporate into his villa. The Canopus is an elongated canal imitating the famous sanctuary of Serapis near Alexandria. The semi-circular exedra of the Serapeum is located at its southern end, dedicated to the gods Isis and Serpis which was probably used as a banqueting hall. The sides of the canal was lined with statues of the caryatids that would have been inspired by the Erechtheion in Athens.
After Hadrian’s death the villa was maintained but the Emperors largely preferred their Palace in Rome. Constantine removed much of the art from the Villa and took it to Constantinople. When the Western Empire fell the Villa was looted by the Barbarians and in the 16th century Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este had much of the marble and statues in Hadrian's villa removed to decorate his own Villa d'Este located nearby.