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It's a 45 minute, largely uphill, walk to get to this Roman villa, but worth it if you have the time and energy. You'll walk along some fascinating little lanes on the way, have fabulous views .... and the opportunity to peer into numerous villa gardens!
The Roman Emperor Tiberius had this place built for his retirement. In fact, he ruled the empire for 10 years from Capri, which is a testament to the efficiency of the Roman communications system. The villa covers almost the whole of the summit of Mount Tiberio, with magnificent views across the Bay of Naples.
Although it is not in terribly good condition, its treasures long removed, its gardens overgrown and its walls crumbling, the villa still gives a glimpse into how the ultra-rich lived thousands of years ago. Most fascinating is the sytem of canals and water-storage areas which the architects had to design in order to supply not only the villa's everyday needs but also its baths and its vast gardens. More evidence of Roman efficiency!
It's worth checking that the villa is open before you start out on the walk. Although it is supposed to be open from 9 am to an hour before dusk, I doubt this is the case throughout the year. Details and directions on this link:
Villa Jovis info
More photos and info on my travelogue here:
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Emperor Tiberius I lived on Capri between 27 and 37 AD and ruins of three of twelve suspected palaces he built here still remain. In keeping with tradition, the largest was named for Jupiter (Jove) and commands the top of Mt. Tiberio, on the far eastern coast of the island. Strategically placed to provide an excellent scope of the sea and protection from possible attack, this villa was as much fortress as imperial accommodation.
Tiberius was reputed to have been a competent general and administrator but not much of a people person. The decision to manage his empire from distant, isolated Capri vs. Rome was the second time he'd fled into self-imposed exile (the first was to Rhodes), and a sour demeanor coupled with anti-social tendencies made him generally disliked by Rome's elite. To make matters worse, it was on this faraway piece of rock that the emperor is said to have engaged in all sorts of scandalous behavior - accompanied by infamous stepgrandson, Caligula, no less - that caused even the most hedonistic of Senators to blush. I'll leave you to your own research there but some historians feel it's possible that his enemies greatly embellished the truth out of spite.
Highlights of Villa Jovis include a number of enormous cisterns that provided for collection and storage of rainwater, the remains of mosaic flooring, a small, 18th- century church and absolutely magnificent panorama of the Bay of Naples and Sorrentine Peninsula. Even if you have zero interest in old piles of rocks, go for the view!
Open from 9:00 AM until an hour before sunset, it's about an hour's walk from town, much of it uphill, to the top of the mountain but the way is paved and it's a great escape from the daytime crowds around the Piazzetta. Ask at the visitor's center in town about current entry fees as I don't recall that we paid more than 2 euro apiece. There was a little outdoor bar just a few minutes walk from the villa (it'll be on your left as you're nearing the mountain top) that would be a great place to stop before heading back into town. It closed at 4:00 or so when we were there in October but probably stays open later in the summer.
- Historical Travel
Imperial Villa Jovis
Villa Jovis is the largest and most sumptuous of all the Roman villas on Capri. Located on top of Mount Tiberio, at 354 meters above sea level, in an outstanding position, it was the main residence of Emperor Tiberius, and reflects his austere personality it its design.
The villa Jovis was built for Tiberius at the beginning of the 1st century AD. This large imperial villa was discovered in the 1700's by the Bourbon ruler Charles.
The first explorations of the land were the villa sits were made in 1827. The archeological dig was expanded in 1932-35 by A. Maiuri who unearthed much of the original, 7,000 sq. meter structure.
The villa was built unusually high for the time. It consisted of different floors along the natural slope of the land, with the difference from the highest to the lowest point being 40 meters. The gardens of the villa most likely covered the entire hill.
The Northern side of the Villa is the most panoramic point. This is most likely where the emperor spent his time walking along the promenade (ambulatio).
On the same site as the villa you can find the Church of St. Maria del Soccorso. The church is only open for the celebration of the Tiberian Piedigrotta.
- Spa and Resort
- Luxury Travel
This is the most imposing of the 12 villas built on the island by Emperor Tiberius in around 30 A.D.
Villa Jovis overlooks the sea from the top of Monte Tiberio, with a truly spectacular view that embraces the entire Bay of Naples. The Villa covers around 7000 m and has several floors. The enormous cisterns, located at the center of the complex, are considerable and were used supply the emperor and his following with rainwater for drinking and bathing.
After visiting the villa, you could dedicate some time to other attractions in the vicinity, such as the Church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, the Cave of Tiberius and the Lighthouse Tower.
The home of the Roman Ceasers Augustus and Tiberius it is on the top of Mount Tiberio, at more than 1,200 feet above sea level. These were the most imporessive of the Roman ruins and the ruins of Capri's largest and most lavish Roman villa.
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