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VILLA ADRIANA AND ITS MONUMENTAL ENTRANCE: THE GREAT PAVED ROADWAY

The great Paved Roadway was found during the excavations of the Jubilee of 2000 and is the only monumental entrance discovered so far at Villa Adriana; definitely it was not the only one. The road still has a part of the original paving slabs.

The road came from the Via Tiburtina, entered in the valley called Fosso di Risicoli and went around the curved side of the Hundred Chambers (Cento Camerelle), the substructures 15 meters high that support the artificial esplanade of the Poecile; then it forked.

n. 47 - Pianta di Michael Ytterberg
A secondary branch of the road continued along the Hundred Chambers, passing in front of a round Tower that acted as a hinge between two different orientations. With a descending path the road reached the entrance to the subterranean tunnels used by the slaves, which connected the slave’s quarters (the Hundred Chambers) with the subterranean heating system of the Building with Three Exedrae, of the Small Baths and of the Large Baths.

The main branch of the road remained on the surface, and reached the remains of a large portal accessing the Paved Roadway, which had the shape of an elongated ring and functioned as a sort of roundabout. In practice, the carriages traveled along one side of a long and narrow double avenue, reached the great 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.

The Paved Roadway still has all the original paving slabs, and extends for approximately 80 meters towards the Vestibule, which was reached via a monumental stairway, flanked by two fountains and richly decorated.
The Vestibule was the monumental entrance for distinguished guests who reached the Canopus, the grandiose summer triclinium preceded by a long water basin. There the emperor Hadrian offered them spectacular summer banquets, enlivened by the sound of music and by the flowing of water of the fountains.

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