- Art & Culture
Desenzano Roman Villa
The most important example in Northern Italy of the great late Roman villas
Today, the Villa of Desenzano is the most important evidence of the large and sumptuous Late Antique villas in northern Italy.
The building, located just north of Via Gallica, enjoyed beautiful surroundings along the southern shore of Lake Garda.
The owner of the Roman Villa is believed to be the Roman citizen Decentius, which would explain the origin of the place name "Desenzano."
The remains of the villa (which date back to different periods between the end of the Republican era (first century BC) and the end of the imperial age (fifth cent. AD), span out for about a hectare.
This undeniably complex, sprawling building, with a unitary orientation, has residential quarters that alternate with rustic structures. The key focus of the villa's design was the lake: the various rooms were distributed in a way that would offer the most views of the water. The designed also aimed to allow the building as a whole to be seen from the lake.
The main routes of the Villa were organised in a sequence from the lake into the interior and oriented at right angles to the shore. The Villa undoubtedly had structures that connected it to the lake, including piers, moors and docks, and perhaps even fish ponds (piscinae) for fish farming, which completed the various ways to enjoy and take advantage of the lake environment.
Looking at the mosaic floors depicting various pagan scenes, visitors will be enchanted by their beauty for the variety of colours in the mosaic stones: cupids gathering grapes, cupids of chariot racing; maenads and satyrs; beasts attacking wild animals, allegories of the four seasons; a character (Orpheus or the Good Shepherd ) with a dog and a sheep in a bucolic landscape.
At the entrance of the villa you can visit a small museum with relics unearthed during excavations.