Sunday, 30 November 2014
Roman Urbex at Tiberius' Villa of Jupiter
An uphill two kilometre walk from Capri town to the remote NE point of the island of Capri brought us to the excavated remains of Villa Jovis (villa of Jupiter), This was the site for Emperor Tiberius' largest palace on the island, completed in AD 27. Tiberius moved to Capri from Rome due to very real fears of assassination and ruled the Empire from this palace until his death in AD 37. According to Seutonius' 'De vita Caesarum' (known to us as 'The Twelve Caesars') Tiberius engaged in some wild debauchery at Villa Jovis, and also that some of his political opponents were lured here, wined and dined in extravagance, then ended up being flung to their deaths from the steep cliffs.
We ended our climb up the steep narrow streets winding between expensive villas on a hot sunny day, only to be greeted by this sign:
Zooming in ....
Oh no! From that day until the end of February the site was closed! What to do?
A few signs has never put us off in the past when engaging in a bit of urban exploration, so with the advice of a local out exercising his dogs we found the back entrance and wandered in.
It was fantastic having the site to ourselves, though of course observing the urbex code of not bringing anything onto the site, not disturbing anything, and not taking anything away.
Here are some photos of this fascinating place, which also has some wicked views across the Tyrrhenian Sea to Sorrento, Naples, and Vesuivius. The villa does indeed perch atop some very steep cliffs, and it would have been a long way down for Tiberius' enemies to fall!
'Urban' derives from the Latin urbanus (of, or belonging to, a city) so I think it is appropriate that we did a bit of urban exploration in a Roman villa. These are definitely the oldest buildings that we have explored and photographed without express permission.
Disclaimer: trespassing is wrong and contrary to the code of civil law in most countries. Don't do it kids!