Villa Jovis

sights / Historic

Villa Jovis information

Location
Capri Town , Italy
Address
Via A Maiuri
Prices
admission €2
Opening hours
11am-3pm, closed Tue 1st-15th of month, closed Sun rest of month
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A 45-minute walk east of Capri along Via Tiberio, Villa Jovis was the largest and most sumptuous of the island’s 12 Roman villas and Tiberius’ main Capri residence. A vast pleasure complex, now reduced to ruins, it famously pandered to the emperor’s debauched tastes, and included imperial quarters and extensive bathing areas set in dense gardens and woodland.

The villa's spectacular location posed major headaches for Tiberius’ architects. The main problem was how to collect and store enough water to supply the villa’s baths and 3000-sq-metre gardens. The solution they eventually hit upon was to build a complex canal system to transport rainwater to four giant storage tanks, whose remains you can still see today.

The stairway behind the villa leads to the 330m-high Salto di Tiberio (Tiberius’ Leap), a sheer cliff from where, as the story goes, Tiberius had out-of-favour subjects hurled into the sea. True or not, the stunning views are real enough; if you suffer from vertigo, tread carefully.

A shortish but steep walk from the villa, down Via Tiberio and Via Matermània, is the Arco Naturale – a huge rock arch formed by the pounding sea; you can time this walk to take in lunch at cave restaurant Le Grotelle .