Litoranea di Pontecagnano Salerno (Italy)
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Amalfi Coast, Positano, Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, Paestum, Capri, Ischia, Salerno, Ravello, Herculaneum, Mt. Vesuvius, Maiori, Minori, Vietri sul Mare, Furore
largest imperial villa, it was built for Tiberius at the beginning of the 1st
century AD and discovered in the 1700's by the Bourbon ruler Charles.
The first explorations occurred in 1827; the dig was expanded in 1932-35 by A. Maiuri who unearthed much of the original, 7,000 sq. meter structure. The gardens of the villa most likely covered the entire hill.
The villa, built unusually high, consisted of different floors along the natural slope of the land, with the difference from the highest to the lowest point being 40 m.
The spaces were laid out around a central area that held the large cisterns for gathering rain water, the only source of drinking water, and a reserve used to supply the baths, which were divided into the traditional frigidarium, tepidarium and calidarium areas.
The imperial quarters were on the eastern side in the highest, best protected part of the building. They were totally isolated from the rest of the structure, but connected by ramps and stairways. The balcony, designed for walking and enjoying the view of the entire Gulf of Naples, has a rectangular shape.
To the west are the ruins of a construction made from gridwork with rows of bricks which may have been the ancient observatory of Emperor Tiberius' astrologer, who also practiced this science.
The building includes the Church of St. Maria del Soccorso, open only for the feast of the Tiberian Piedigrotta. The statue located to one side portraying the virgin holding the child, replaced an earlier statue that was erected in 1901 and struck down by a lightning in 1977.
The Roman lighthouse and the Jumping-off point of Tiberius
The ruins of a square construction to the south of the dig were once a signal tower from where fire was used to communicate with Rome via the lighthouses on the Campanella Point and Cape Miseno.