Discovered in 1963, the villa in Casignana is the embodiment of the stylistic and architectural richness and the artistic refinement of the noble dwellings of the Hellenistic period. The mosaic floors, which suggest connections with stylistic features typical of Eastern Africa areas such as present-day Tunisia and Tripolitania, are a unicum in the territory of Calabria.
The Patrician family
The Roman Villa of Casignana was built in the 1st century A.D. in a region that was already flourishing in the classical Greek period and reached its maximum splendour in the 4th century A.D. On account of the richness of the materials, it is believed that the villa belonged to a very important Patrician family, whose wealth probably originated from wine production. This hypothesis is also based on the many fragments of Roman amphorae found at the villa and some of the figures depicted in the mosaics.
DID YOU KNOW THAT ...?
In this area they still make one of Italy’s most ancient wines, the Greco di Bianco.
The balneae of the villa exemplify the classical layout of Roman bathing facilities, which consisted of three rooms, a warm one called the tepidarium, a hot one called the calidarium and a cold bath called the frigidarium. All the rooms were decorated with mosaics: the most ancient used white and green tiles and the more recent used smaller, many-coloured tiles. The splendour of the villa also lies in its rectangular layout and a lavish use of marble inserts. The walls were covered with marble coming from the distant regions of the Roman empire: Asia and Africa.
The archaeological find
The discovery of the villa dates back to 1963, when the digs for the installation of a water pipeline brought to light a portion of its structure and mosaic floors. Over the following years, the Superintendence for the Archaeological Heritage of Calabria undertook a systematic exploration of the bathing facilities of the villa.