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Villa Adriana, imperial residence of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (proclaimed emperor in 117 A.D. at 40), sits on the plain at the foot of the hilltop village of Tivoli (east of Rome). Hadrian was a fit, elegant, and cultured man. During his rule, he was a great organizer of the Roman Empire and known to be austere and genial, dignified and playful, dilatory and quick to act, niggardly and generous, deceitful and straightforward, cruel and merciful. Adriana Villa reflects this well traveled and complex Emperor, the estate consisting of monumental villas, temples, baths, ponds, and theaters spread out over 300 acres dotted with ancient olive and cypress trees. One could easily spend an entire day there.
This beautiful and haunting area of the villa is thought to have been a private summer residence of the Emperor. The way it was built offered privacy and security.
Also by Deborah Downes
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