Driving northbound along State Road 106 direction Locri, in Contrada Palazzi di Casignana there is ‘Villa di Casignana’ one of the most magnificent villas in Calabria and in the whole of southern Italy.
Sea-facing Roman Villa
The sea-facing ‘Villa di Casignana’ extending over about fifteen hectares, was most probably built in the 1st century A.D. in an area already settled in Greek times, enjoying its glory days in the 4th century A.D. Given the highly expensive building materials employed, the villa is thought to have belonged to a very important patrician family working in the wine business. This assumption is also confirmed by the many fragments found of Roman amphorae and by some of the mosaic depictions.
The Villa, as Was Customary, Is Built around a Central Courtyard
Its beach-facing façade is in front of the dromos, and adjacent, most probably, to a berth. More than a façade, it is a city gate proper, with two towers used for placing defence equipment, such as ballistae (bolt throwers). This gives an idea of the grandeur, wealth, as well as political clout of its owners.
The Villa’s Thermal Bath in Classical Roman Architecture Style
The thermal bath features a heated room (calidarium), one with lower temperature (tepidarium) that served to prepare the body for a cooler room (frigidarium).
The ‘Octagonal Hall’ features awesome mosaics with geometric motifs and precious marble tiles. The mosaic with marine thiasos, on the east side of the baths, features four Nereids riding a leocampus (a lion with a fish tail), a tigricampus (a tiger with a fish tail), a bovecampus (an ox with a fish tail) and a hippocampus (a horse with a fish tail), personifications of the seas known at that time: Mare Africum, Mare Indicum, and the Black Sea.
The Villa Discovered in 1963During excavations for the laying of an aqueduct, part of the villa and mosaic floors were uncovered by accident.