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Antiquarium at Villa of the Quintilii

  • History

The ruins of the villa of the Quintilii on Via Appia – monumental walls are seen by every tourist who takes a long walk along the most famous Roman road: Via Appia.

Most tourists reach the villa of the Quintilii from the side of the ancient Via Appia. But the main entrance to the excavation site is on the other side – on the modern Via Appia Nuova. And it is there that you can find a small but very interesting museum where finds from the villa and its surroundings are exhibited. They allow us to imagine its wealth at a time when it was more than a gloomy ruin. The word “imagine” is key here, but more on that in a moment.

The splendour of the villa of the Quintilii falls on the last decades of the 2nd century CE. Today, the villa is associated with Emperor Commodus (whose character was popularized in the 1997 blockbuster “Gladiator”), who liked it so much that he decided to put its owners to death just to take possession of it. So when you look at the artefacts excavated from the ruins in the museum, you can assume that at least some of them pleased the eyes of Commodus himself.

When I visited this small museum, I felt a little unsatisfied. However, it was not due to the fact that the exhibits on display were uninteresting. I simply felt regret that there was so little left of the architectural, sculptural and painted decoration of this one of the most impressive patrician/imperial villas in the vicinity of Rome.