An atrium with portico and fountainsItaly / Sicily / Piazza Armerina / Villa Romana del Casale
The atrium is first courtyard a visitor would see when entering the Villa Romana del Casale. It is located between the entrance arch, the latrine, the thermal baths and the tablinum leading to the centre of the villa.
The atrium is a courtyard of irregular shape. On three sides it had a portico with ionic columns, on the fourth side the entrance arch. Under the portico was a geometric mosaic with a fish-scale pattern in two colours, while the centre was paved with slabs of limestone. In the centre of the atrium was a fountain, and on the inside of the entrance arch were two semicircular fountains clad with slabs of marble.
There are passages from the atrium to the latrine, directly to the thermal baths and to the tablinum.
When the patron received his clients, the lesser important clients would be made to wait their turn in the atrium. It was probably a rather crowded environment when the owner of the villa was present, with people entering, leaving and waiting under the portico. Certainly the large latrine nearby indicates the presence of a substantial number of persons for longer intervals of time.
Of the atrium remain some of the columns and parts of the pavement, including the mosaics. The environment now appears much more open that it would have originally when it was closed by walls and columns on all sides.
The passage to the thermal baths are by two room N. of the atrium. The first is a square room with a semicircular apse. The floor has a geometric mosaic with squares slightly tilted to form horizontal and vertical rhombs. The squares contain a guilloche along the border and various stylised flowers inside, the rhombs has a stylised guilloche along the edge and a four-petalled flower inside. The apse has a simpler mosaic with a diagonal pattern of squares, each containing another square with a symmetrical cross inside.
The next room, open to the S. end of the palestra, has a mosaic with 3×3 ovals placed diagonally in alternating directions, so they form two smaller and two larger rhombs in between. The ovals are made by guilloches that intertwine where they meet. Inside is a wave pattern and a stylised elongated flower. In the two smaller rhombs is a small flower, and in the larger a smaller rhombic shape in red and yellow.
In this room there are some remains of wall painting with ellipses with human figures inside.
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