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The visit to Capri was primarily to see the Villa Jovis (Fig 8), which is at the top of a path leading up from the Piazza Umberto along the Via Longano and Via Sopraminte and then left up the Via Tiberio and Viale Amadeo Maiuri, about an hour’s walk. There are conflicting versions of the reason for the villa, one being that it was built for the Emperor Tiberius who feared that he might be assassinated and so had this impregnable fortress built for his safety. Another version, in the local guidebook, is that it was built ‘on an inaccessible rock with a sheer drop to the sea – a small fortress with a tower to receive and send light signals – and in fact, Villa Jovis fully meets this description having a sheer drop to the sea on two sides of a large, solid construction more similar to a fortress than a villa and buildings organized round a central complex with a tower which was almost certainly used as a lookout and signalling post 51 (Plate 2.97). The villa covered an area of 7,000 square metres and was built on layers of terraces, following the natural line of the rock. In the atrium on the southern side, next to the baths, there are four columns of cipollino marble, varying in height from less than 1 m. to 2 m. /3.3 to 6 .75 Rf and in diameter .30 m. /1 Rf (Plate 2.98).

Just off the Piazza Umberto is the Church of San Stefano, rebuilt in the 17th century on the remains of a former church. The main altar has a polychrome floor made from marble inlays rebuilt with pieces from the Villa Jovis. This includes fragments of cipollino (Plate 2.99). Immediately below the altar steps the plaque in memory of Seraphinus Cimino, Archiepiscopus Cyrrhensis, contains cipollino in the border (Plate 2.100). Cipollino also exists in the border of the memorial plaque to Franciscus Antonninus Bocus, Antistiti Josepho de Nardis. The strips are .06 m. wide and the plaques measure 1.20 x 2 m. (Plate 2.101).

In the church of San Costanzo there are also said to be cipollino columns from Villa Jovis, but unfortunately there was not time to visit as the last boat back to the mainland was leaving (Plate 2.102).

51 Guide to the Ancient Monuments of the Island of Capri, Azienda Autonoma di Cura, Soggioorno e Turismo of the Island of Capri, p. 12.

Maps and Plates

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Fig 8 Villa Jovis, Capri

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Plate 2.97 Villa Jovis, Capri.

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Plate 2.98 Four columns of cipollino, Villa Jovis, Capri (photo, Guide To Ancient Monuments, Capri).

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Plate 2.99 Fragments of cipollino on the floor of the altar, the Church of San Stefano, Capri

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Plate 2.100 & 2.101 Borders of cipollino in the Memorials, the church of San Stefano, Capri.

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Plate 2.100 & 2.101 Borders of cipollino in the Memorials, the church of San Stefano, Capri.

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Plate 2.102 Column of cipollino in the Church of San Costanza, Capri (photo, Guide to Ancient Monuments, Capri).

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