Ambulacro della Grande Caccia

Central Sicily

This 64m-long corridor is emblazoned with dramatic hunting scenes of tigers, leopards, elephants, antelopes, ostriches and a rhino – animals that the Romans eventually hunted to extinction in North Africa. The first figure is resplendent in a Byzantine cape and is flanked by two soldiers, most likely Maximianus himself and two members of his personal guard.

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1. Peristyle

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The main part of the villa is centred on the peristyle, a vast covered courtyard lined with amusing animal heads. This is where guests would have been…

2. Basilica

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After they had been received in the peristyle, guests were led through to the basilica, a building used for public assembly.

3. Sala delle Dieci Ragazze

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Just off the southern end of the Ambulacro della Grande Caccia, in the Sala delle Dieci Ragazze, is the villa's most famous mosaic. It depicts nine …

4. Little Hunt

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Of the rooms on the northern side of the peristyle, the most interesting is a dining room featuring a hunting mosaic called the Little Hunt – 'little'…

5. Villa Romana del Casale

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Villa Romana del Casale is sumptuous, even by decadent Roman standards, and is thought to have been the country retreat of Marcus Aurelius Maximianus,…

6. Triclinium

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One of a series of apartments on one side of the Ambulacro, the triclinium boasts a splendid floor illustration of the labours of Hercules, where the…

8. Palaestra

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The palaestra wows with a splendid, sweeping mosaic depicting a chariot race at the Circus Maximus in Rome (the room is also known as the Salone del Circo…