Villa Adriana The spacious estate was designed by the emperor Hadrian around 120 AD. Hadrian was a “self-made” success story, having risen from a pauper to the Emperor of Rome. The villa was built to escape the hot, humid summers of Rome, and is thought to be mainly designed by Hadrian. It features two large pools as well as numerous buildings. The exterior walls have since fallen off leaving the brick interior framing as the remnants of the buildings
Villa d’Este This villa was built around 1550 AD and features many fountains. The fountains are naturally driven using gravity and water pressure as the sole means of controlling the water flow. Engineers still come to Villa d’Este to study the methods employed.
Ostia Antica Ostia was the main sea port for Rome. Ships from all over the Mediterranean visited the port to trade with the Romans. It also served as an escape for the hot Rome summers. The goods were taken up the Tiber River to Rome. A severe storm and subsequent flooding changed the flow of the river and made this area unable to be navigated by the ships. The modern city of Ostia stands where the sea port relocated. This was a large city and many structures remain. There is evidence of two and three story apartment buildings. The Upper Class Romans lived in these “condos” because they were located away from the mosquitoes and other pests of the river.
Pompeii & Erculano On August 24, 79 AD, Mt Vesuvius erupted in one of the most violent eruptions. A pyroclastic flow covered the port town of Pompeii, covering it in deadly gases and hot cinders. All organic material was destroyed as it burned under the covering of cinders. As the excavations took place in the late 1800’s air spaces were discovered in the cinder. Plaster molds were taken of the spaces, revealing the horror of the people of Pompeii as they took their last breaths. Erculano was a resort town located on the Bay of Naples. Most of the population were able to evacuate via the sea. Recently approximately 125 skeletons were uncovered in a cave. It is thought that these citizens were turned back by a tsunami generated by the ground movement of the eruption. The city of Erculano (Herculaneum), un like Pompeii, was covered by a mud flow from the eruption (lahars). The 79 AD Mt Vesuvius eruption marked the first recorded account of the eruption by Pliny the Younger. Two letters were written describing the eruption and the death of his uncle, Pliny the Elder, the chief of the Roman navy in the Bay of Naples.
Pompeii Pompeii was covered by over 15 meters of hot ash and cinders in the 79 AD eruption of Mt Vesuvius. This pyroclastic flow, with its poisonous gases, covered all of the population and animals. Any organic substance was destroyed in the flow. During the late 1800’s the archeologists discovered air pockets in the cinder. They tried taking a mold of the pockets before they removed the ash. These molds revealed the horror of the death of the residents of Pompeii. Two of the molds are on display in Pompeii, the remaining molds can be found in the Archeological Museum in Naples. There remains over half of the city to excavate. Evidence of an elaborate plumbing system and billboards were revealed. Egyptian hieroglyphics have been uncovered as well. Pompeii was a major sea port of the Romans and was closer to the sea than it is today due to volcanic activity.