The Emperor Adriana (Hadrian – of Wall fame) certainly left his mark on Rome. His mausoleum, Castel Sant’Angelo, dominates the banks of the Tiber and is central to the plot of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. But at his villa on the outskirts of the city, it’s clear just how important this emperor was.
The villa covers 300 acres and there’s enough buildings left (albeit in an incomplete condition) to confirm just how talented the engineers of Adriana’s era were. Very little of what remains has restricted access, visitors roam at will. Such a large area demands a full day, sadly I was only able to stay for a few hours.
Since my visit the villa’s been in the news – a new network of caves running under the villa had been found and explored. It’s believed they were used to move cattle and slaves around the area. Adriana wouldn’t have wanted his beautiful vista spoilt by such domestics, so a network of passageways was created. I wasn’t aware that any caves existed and reading of these new ones came as a surprise. It seems that although I had barely scratched the surface, Adriana was digging deeper.