Monday, October 1, 2018

Villa of Livia

The villa, which was probably part of the dowry of Livia Drusilla, is mentioned by Pliny the Elder, Suetonius and Cassius Dio. In particular, there is also a poetic legend about its foundation, according to which an eagle  dropped in the belly of Livia a white hen with a sprig of laurel in its beak. He consulted the soothsayers nursed its brood and planted the sprig which generated a forest, where emperors tore branches and carried them during battles. Because of this legend, the town was also known as ad gallinas albas.
The villa was rediscovered and explored already in 1596 but was not recognized as it was that of Livia until the nineteenth century.
The life-size representations of trees, flowers, fruit, and birds decorate all four walls of the room to create a continuous and 360° view of a garden, which adds perspective by increasing clarity in the foreground subjects.
The frescoes are currently in the Palazzo Massimo.

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