Have you ever dreamed to be an archeologist discovering the ruins of an ancient city? That’s exactly the feeling you get at the Villa dei Quintili! This site was known as “Roma Vecchia”, literally “old Rome”, because the remains are so impressive they appear as a miniature version of ancient Rome.
Actually, this was the country estate of some extremely wealthy brothers, name of Quintili, who lived in the 3rd century. Surrounded by farmland, and provided with all comforts (a spa, central heating, an arena to host shows, gardens and fountains), the villa was so beautiful that the emperor Commodus decided he must have it, and had the two brothers condemned to death in order to seize their property.
The ruins got ransacked over the centuries to strip off the marble and decorations, but some of the beautiful marble floors and mosaics can still be seen. The sheer size of this place will take your breath away!
Afterwards, we’ll head to the Park of the Aqueducts, an area where as many as 6 Roman aequeducts converge. Their gigantic arches are clearly visible even from a distance, and are a typical landmark of the countryside around Rome.
The Roman aqueducts allowed about 1 million liters a day to be transported from the springs located up in the mountains, all the way into the city. They fed the impressive Roman baths, and were arguably the greatest achievement of Roman engineering, alongside with the network of roads and the sewers.
The bucolic setting of the park provided the perfect backdrop for many movies, and is one of the gems of the city, mostly overlooked by travelers because of its out-of-the-way location, but a great favourite among locals.