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VILLA ADRIANA. THE POECILE AND THE HUNDRED CHAMBERS

The first long roman wall seen during the visit of Villa Adriana belongs to the Poecile: it was a large garden surrounded by porticoes and decorated with a water basin in the centre, where the landscape is reflected.

That wall is more than three hundred meters long, and had a double portico on both sides. In summer the portico of north side was cool and in the shade, ideal for walking. While the portico of the south side was warmer and more sheltered because it was exposed to the sun.

On top of the the wall there are several holes for the roof beams of the portico, but everything else has disappeared; nothing remains of the pavement or the frescoes that must have decorated its walls.

From the portico a double staircase ascended to the Hall of the Philosophers, which probably was the Throne Room of the Villa. We know that it was decorated with precious marbles such as red porphyry, the imperial stone par excellence.

The Piazza of the Poecile is an enormous artificial esplanade supported by imposing substructures about twenty meters high, called «Hundred Chambers» due to the large number of windows. They have always been closed to visitors, and serve as a storage area for archaeological finds.

The rooms inside were divided into several floors by mezzanines, had multiple latrines and simple opus spicatum pavements. The back wall had a cavity to isolate the rooms from humidity. The Villa's service staff, i.e. the slaves and soldiers, stayed here.

The Hundred Chambers were bordered by a sunken road, coming from the Via Tiburtina, which entered in the subterranean service corridors of the Villa (also closed to visitors). In this way the slaves could access the heating systems of the Large and Small Baths without being seen.

Next to it is another road and the remains of a portal from which one entered the Paved Roadway, which was one of the monumental entrances to the Villa and functioned as a roundabout. In practice, the carriages traveled along one side of a long and narrow double avenue, reached the stairway of the Vestibule, dropped off the emperor's guests and then continued along the opposite side. 
In this way there was a continuous circulation of the carriages; the Tower, conveniently placed in front of the portal, also served to monitor and protect the entrance.

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