Uncover the allure of the historic Villa Jovis.

Nestled on the cliff tops of Capri sits Villa Jovis. What was once a large complex now sits in ruins. What happened to the former villa? Let’s take a step back in time to explore the villa’s past.

The History of Villa Jovis

Villa Jovis, which translates to “Villa of Jupiter”, used to be where Roman Emperor Tiberius lived. Villa Jovis was only one of twelve villas built, but it was the largest of them all. Tiberius wanted the villa to be very secluded and difficult to access. Because of this, he had it built atop steep slopes and away from everything else. The former emperor was very concerned about security, which is why he wanted the villa to be hard to reach.

So, what happened at the villa? Tiberius lived in the villa from 27 AD to 37 AD until his death. It has been recorded that he used the villa for debauchery including torture and orgies. 

What Did the Villa Look Like?

Despite its scandalous reputation, the villa was quite magnificent. In fact, it spanned over 7,000 square metres! It also had extensive gardens, covering another 3,000 square metres.

As you can tell from the ruins, the interior included a maze or rooms and passageways. The architecture of the villa resembled a fortress, similar to other villas of the Roman empire. Located in the centre of the villa were several cisterns used to collect rainwater.

Today, you can explore the limestone ruins, which show the outlines of the villa and offer insight into what was located inside. Some of the ruins show a dining room, the baths and an astronomical observatory.

How to get to Villa Jovis

Access to the ruins of Villa Jovis can be a bit tricky. As we mentioned, the villa was built on top of steep slopes and away from everything else. This means that there is no road access or public transportation that can take you to the villa.

The only way to get to the villa is by walking. You will have to start in the town centre and walk around 2 kilometres to reach the ruins. The walk will lead you up and down some steep slopes, so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

Once you arrive at the villa, we recommend spending a couple of hours exploring. There is comprehensive signage located throughout the villa, explaining what each room used to be. Some of these rooms include the rain system, servant quarters and the baths. You may also be able to spot some of the mosaics that used to decorate the floors.

After exploring the walls of the villa, be sure to stroll through the gardens. The gardens aren’t what they once were, but you’ll still be able to see plenty of lush greenery and colourful flowers. From the cliff edge, you’ll find panoramic views of the mesmerising Gulf of Naples.

Don’t miss out on this fascinating bit of history on your trip to Capri!

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