The aristocracy in ancient Rome led lavish lives, living in magnificent homes decorated with rich marble alongside their families and attendants. These large, well-constructed houses are the ones that frequently show up in the archaeological record thousands of years later. The ruins of these houses, unearthed during deliberate excavations and even beneath city streets, reveal a great deal about the people who lived there and the era in which they did. To this rich history, a recently unearthed "domus," or townhouse, in Rome's Colosseum Archeological Park has been added. Its distinctive mosaic, which is made of glass, seashells, and rich blue tiles, creates a charming nautical scene.
During the Republican era of Roman history, in the first or second century BCE, the domus was constructed. It is close to the Vicus Tuscus, a significant commercial road, and Palatine Hill. The atrium of the Domus is an open space with columns where residents can get fresh air and frequently find fountains and pools. The mosaic was found in a species aestivus, a kind of vaulted room of the atrium where one could entertain. The mosaic rises beneath the arched ceiling, showcasing its own beautifully rendered arches.
Unlike many others, this mosaic is not just composed of attractive stone fragments. Rather, it features tesserae of white marble, iridescent glass, and gorgeous blue Egyptian tiles. The remarkably well-preserved seashells that are used as design elements are scattered throughout. This makes sense given how strongly nautical the mosaic's themes are. A trident with a blue outline is framed by two crossed, arching boat bows.
Ships sail across rocky waters in this scene by the sea. There are lotus flowers, weapons of war, and shepherds in the fields. This suggests to researchers that the owner might have served in the military in the past.
A stunning fresco has been discovered in another room while work on the domus is still ongoing. The structure is embellished in the Asia Luxuria style, which gained popularity when the Roman aristocracy became conspicuously opulent following the empire's conquests in the east.
Director of the Colosseum Archeological Park Alfonsina Russo stated, "The archaeological excavation will end in the first months of 2024, and we will subsequently work intensely to make this place—among the most evocative of Ancient Rome—accessible to the public as soon as possible." There are many amazing historical sites in Rome already, but this one should be added to your list of must-see locations.