Roman house of Spoleto, Spoleto

The Roman house of Spoleto, which dates back to the 1st Century, is a true hidden treasure, located under the municipal building in the city centre.

Concentric squares, rhombuses, triangles and octagons characterise the precise decorative patterns on the floor mosaics of the Roman domus of Spoleto, which dates back to the I century A.D. The building, attributed to the mother of the emperor Vespasian, and discovered in 1885, has preserved an original floor, dominated by an elegant contrast of black and white tesserae.

The collection


OVS Arts of Italy is not only a project which creatively combines the languages of art and fashion. Its main aim is to bring the Italian artistic heritage closer to the OVS community through an original story. That's why OVS Art News items have been created: curiosities, anecdotes and ideas for a more in-depth acquaintance with Italian art to enable you to rediscover, enjoy and appreciate the extraordinary beauty under the eyes of us all.

Roman House, Spoleto

Spoleto is a city with a wealth of history and as well as its Roman remains, it also has a great architectural heritage. One of the most important examples is Palazzo Ancaiani, built in the latter half of the 17th century, by the noble Ancaiani family. To the front, the ground floor is covered in stone and noble floor has ornate windows with a balcony supported by columns. Thanks to the funds raised by the OVS Arts of Italy project, renovation works will be carried out to return the front to its ancient splendour.

Domus Romana di Spoleto

There are several Roman remains still visible today in the ancient city of Spoletium in addition to the Roman domus, the house attributed to Vespasian Polla, mother of Emperor Vespasian: the Bloody Bridge (il Ponte Sanguinario), the Arch of Drusus and Germanicus placed at the entrance of the forum, the Roman Theatre but most of all the Ponte delle Torri, an ancient aqueduct 82 metres high which is the highest ancient bridge in Europe.

Roman Domus

As the biographer Suetonius wrote: "... a town on the hill called Vespasia was located six miles from Norcia, along the road to Spoleto, where there are monuments to the Vespasi and buildings erected by them, which are proof of the antiquity and greatness of this family". And it seems, in fact, that the Roman house of Spoleto actually belonged to Vespasia Polla, mother of Emperor Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty who is still remembered for having begun the construction of the Colosseum.

The art work

The Roman domus of Spoleto is a patrician dwelling discovered at the end of the 19th century by the archaeologist Giuseppe Sordini, who dedicated himself to excavating it for more than twenty years. An inscription fragment, found in the house’s well, which contained a dedication to the Emperor Caligula from a certain Polla, has made experts believe that it was the home of Vespasian Polla, mother of the Emperor Vespasian, who came from Norcia and who held properties in that area.

Considering the size of the estate, its central position and the rich decorations found within, it is thought that the house belonged to a wealthy man, probably of the ruling class. The architectural style reflects the Classical style of Roman Patrician houses: beyond the atrium – with its cistern to collect rainwater – there is a state hall (tablinum), a dining room (triclinium), several bedrooms (cubicola) and secondary rooms (alae).