landscape affords a variety of view, in some places being closed in by woods,
in others extending over broad meadows, where numerous flocks of sheep and
herds of cattle, which the severity of the winter has driven from the
mountains, fatten in the spring warmth, and on the rich pasturage.
villa is of a convenient
size without being expensive
to keep up.
The courtyard in front is plain, but not mean, through
which you enter porticoes shaped into the form of the letter D, enclosing a
small but cheerful area between.
These make a capital retreat for bad
weather, not only as they are shut in with windows, but particularly as they
are sheltered by a projection of the roof.
the middle of these porticoes you pass into a bright, pleasant inner court, and
out of that into a handsome hall running out towards the sea shore; so that
when there is a southwest breeze, it is gently washed with the
spend themselves at its base.
every side of this hall there are either folding doors or windows equally
large, by which means you have a view from the front and the two sides of three
different seas, as it were: from the back you see the middle court, the
portico, and the area; and from another point you look through the portico into
the courtyard, and out upon
the woods and distant
left hand of this hall, a
little farther from the sea, lies a large drawing room, and beyond that, a
second of a smaller size, which has one
window to the rising and
another to the setting
The angle formed by the projection of the dining room with
this drawing room retains and intensifies the warmth of the sun, and this forms our
winter quarters and family gymnasium, which is sheltered from the
Adjoining this angle is a room forming
the segment of a
circle, the windows of which are so arranged as to get the sun all through
the day: in the walls are niches, containing
a collection of
this is a bedroom, connected with it by a raised passage furnished with pipes,
which supply, at a wholesome temperature, and distribute to all parts of this
room the heat they receive.
The rest of this
side of the house is for the use of my slaves and
freedmen; most of the rooms in it
are respectable enough to put my guests into.
the opposite wing
is a most elegant tastefully fitted up bedroom; next to which lies another;
which you may call either a large bedroom or a modified dining room; it is very
warm and light, not only from the direct
rays of the sun, but by their reflection from the sea.
Beyond this is a bedroom with
an anteroom the height of which renders it cool in summer, its thick walls warm
in winter, for it is sheltered from the winds.
To this apartment
another anteroom is joined by one common wall.
From thence you enter
into the wide and spacious cooling room belonging to the bath, from the
opposite walls of which two curved basins belong; more than large enough if you
consider that the sea is close at hand.
Adjacent to this is the
anointing room, then the sweating room, and beyond that the bath heating room:
adjoining are two other little bath rooms, elegantly rather than sumptuously
fitted up: annexed to them is a warm bath of wonderful construction, in which
one can swim and take a view of the sea at the same time.
Not far from
this stands the Harpastum court, which lies open to the warmth of the afternoon
From thence you go up a sort of turret which has two rooms below,
with the same number above, besides a dining room commanding a very extensive lookout on to the
sea, the coast, and the beautiful villas scattered along the shore line.
At the other end is a second turret, containing a room that gets the
rising and setting sun.
Behind this is a large store room and granary,
and underneath, a spacious dining room, where only the murmur and break of the
sea can be heard, even in a storm: it looks out upon
the garden, and
the path running round
The path is bordered round with box, and, where that is
decayed, with rosemary: for the box, wherever sheltered by the buildings, grows
plentifully, but where it lies open and exposed to the weather and spray from
the sea, though at some distance from the latter, it quite withers up.
Next the path and running along inside it, is a shady vine-plantation,
the path of which is so soft and easy to the tread that you may walk barefoot
The garden is chiefly planted with fig and mulberry trees, to
which this soil is as favorable as
it is averse to all others.
Here is a dining
room, which, though it stands away from the sea, enjoys the garden view, which
is just as pleasant: two apartments run round the back part of it, the windows
of which look out upon the entrance of the villa, and into a fine kitchen
From here extends
portico which, from its great length, you might take for a public
It has a range of windows on either side, but more on the side
facing the sea, and fewer on the garden side, and these, single windows
alternate with the opposite rows.
In calm, clear weather these are all
thrown open; but if it blows, those on the weather side are closed, while those
away from the wind can remain open without any inconvenience.
this enclosed portico lies a terrace fragrant with the scent of violets, and
warmed by the reflection of the sun from the portico, which, while it retains
the rays, keeps away the northeast wind; and
it is as warm on this side as it is cool on the side opposite: in the same way
it is a protection against the wind from the southwest; and thus, in short, by
means of its several sides, breaks the force of the winds, from whatever
quarter they may blow.
These are some of its winter advantages; they
are still more appreciable in the summertime; for at that season it throws a
shade upon the terrace during the whole of the forenoon, and upon the adjoining
portion of the path and garden in the afternoon, casting a greater or less
shade on this side or on that as the day increases or decreases.
In The Summertime 1970
The portico itself is coolest
just at the time when the sun is at its hottest, that is, when the rays fall
directly upon the roof.
By opening the windows you let in the western
breezes in a free current, which prevents the place getting oppressive with
close and stagnant air.
At the upper end of the terrace and portico
stands a detached garden building, which I call my favorite; my favorite
indeed, as I put it up myself.
It contains a very warm winter room, one
side of which looks down upon the terrace, while the other has a view of the
sea, both lie exposed to the sun.
The bedroom opens on to the covered
portico by means of folding doors, while its window looks out upon the sea.
On that side next the sea, and facing the
middle wall, is formed a very elegant little recess, which, by means of
transparent windows and a curtain drawn to or aside, can be made part of the
adjoining room, or separated from it.
It contains a couch and two
chairs: as you lie upon this couch, from where your feet are you get a peep of
the sea; looking behind, you see the neighboring villas, and from the head you
have a view of the woods: these three views may be seen either separately, from
so many different windows, or blended together in one.
is a bedroom, which neither the servants' voices, the murmuring of the sea, the
glare of lightening, nor daylight itself can penetrate, unless you open the
and seclusion are occasioned
by a passage separating the wall of this room from that of the garden, and
thus, by means of this intervening space, every noise is drowned.
Annexed to this is a tiny stove room, which, by opening or shutting a
little aperture, lets out or retains the heat from underneath, according as
Beyond this lie a bedroom and anteroom, which enjoy
the sun, though obliquely indeed, from the time it rises till the afternoon.
When I retire to this garden summer house, I
fancy myself a hundred miles away from my villa, and take
special pleasure in it at the
Feast of the
Saturnalia, when, by the license of
that festive season, every other part of my house resounds with my
servants' mirth: thus I neither interrupt their amusement nor they my
-Gaius Plinius Cecilius Secundus, Pliny the Younger, Roman
military tribune, govenor, orator and gentleman of wealth
"Bedouins can sit for hours in the
feeling the ripples of time,
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falsification of reality outside personal experience has forged a populace
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