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The area of ​​the high plains of Arcinazzo Romano has been a destination for tourists since the imperial age and, perhaps, the most famous character who chose it as a hunting lodge was the emperor Trajan (98-117 AD), the emperor universally known for the Trajan’s Column in Rome following the conquest of Dacia, and the Trajan markets (which are considered as the first commercial centre).

The villa had an area of about 5 hectares and is located at the foot of Mount Altuino, surrounded by woods and fields of the Altipiani di Arcinazzo and can be visited together with the nearby museum of Arcinazzo Romano (Guide of Arcinazzo).

This area near Rome is special for its natural beauties and there are other imperial villas such as that of Nero in Subiaco (Guide of Subiaco). It was crossed by the Via Sublacense that led to springs of the Aniene and to one of the valleys rich in water and called the aqueducts because it was one of the water supply areas of Rome.

Today in the highlands you can practice Nordic skiing, horseback riding and trekking in nature while once they were hunting and refreshment areas from the oppressive summer heat of Rome. These were probably the reasons that convinced the emperor Trajan to put one of his dwellings there.

The complex, which today is also used to host cultural events, spread over an area of ​​about 5 hectares and was organized on two levels, of which the upper one was used as a dwelling, while the lower one was composed of rooms for the reception of guests .

It was not a villa of extreme luxury like that of the ships of Caligula on Lake Nemi or Nero’s Domus Aurea, but a hunting lodge with elegant and surprising architectural details. It is suggestive of a nymphaeum, inside which jets of water started from some sources and bathed the statues creating amazing games of lights and colours. This room overlooked the long garden inside which there were two fountains and various structures.

When accessed from the side of the garden, you can imagine the amazement of the guest, catapulted into a real paradise!

Today it can be imagined and, thanks to the reconstruction of part of the building, it is possible to enjoy a magical play of lights that, originally, had been carefully researched.

To enrich this dream scenario, the villa had rich decorations, found during the excavations and partly kept in the Archaeological Museum of Arcinazzo Romano, where it is possible to admire the splendid reliefs, the stuccos and the marble decorations of the floors and walls.

The marble came from Italy and the Orient and in the construction technique combined different geometric and natural colours and patterns.

Between the 18th and 19th centuries, many of these marbles and decorations, were taken from the villa and used to decorate the church of Sant’Andrea in Subiaco and Santa Maria Assunta in Arcinazzo. The archaeological excavations were done at the end of the last century but much is yet to be discovered. Part of the villa is today protected by an elegant wooden architectural structure that allows one to visit at any time of the year.

A trip to the Altipiani di Arcinazzo for pleasure or sport should always be enriched by a visit to this incredible imperial villa where you can breathe the air of the power of Rome at its full splendour.

Trajan was one of the greatest emperors, one of the five “adoptive emperors” and with him Rome reached its maximum splendour. Tread the places where he passed, discover the waterfalls of this park and imagine being a Roman engineer who built the aqueducts … these and other views and dreams will create emotions to warrant a stay in this area.