The Casa Romana is located in the Via Visiale in the center of Spoleto. The ruins of this ancient Roman domus stem from the 1st century AD. It probably used to belong to the mother of Emperor Vespasian.
Casa Romana Spoleto
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via Visiale – Spoleto (tel. +39 0743 40255; to book a tour 0743 46434). Opening hours: Unknown. Closed on mondays. Admission: 3 Euros; 15 to 25 years of age: 2 Euros; younger than 14: Free. Spoleto Card admissable.
The Casa Romana is the ruin of an ancient Roman domus. The word domus signifies that the house was located within the old city walls, otherwise it would have been a villa. The owners of a domus were generally wealthy. The ruins of this patrician palace date back to the 1st century AD.
The first excavations unearthing the Casa Romana took place between the years 1885 and 1886. The work was financed by the British ambassdor Sir Savile Lumeley. Unfortunately they had to halt the excavation after they ran out of money. It was not until 19112 that the work was completed.
The house is thought to have been the property of Emperor Vespasian‘s mother Vespasia Polla, who was born in nearby Norcia and owned several properties in the area around Spoleto. This theory is further evidenced by an inscription signed Polla and dedicated to the Emperor Caligula.
Description and highlights
The Domus shows several characteristics typical for patrician homes built between the republican and imperial periods.
A short corridor leads to the atrium, which contains an impluvium. An impluvium was lowers than the rest of the atrium and was used to collect rain water. The rectangular opening in the roof of the atrium was called compluvium. The rooms off the atrium are decorated with a number of interesting mosaics.
The atrium ends at what can be seen as the reception room. The two rooms beside this room contain decorations thought to be of more recent origin than those of the rest of the domus.
The room on the right was the triclinium (dining room). Fragments of some of the frescoes in this room are still visible. The floor of the triclinium was higher than that of the rest of the house.
The one on the right leads to the garden, which parts of some of the original columns of the peristyle can still be seen.