Moonday’s Heroic Hunks: Sperlonga’s Hunks

The Villa

One of Emperor Tiberius’ villa is located in the town of Sperlonga which lies between Rome and Naples along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Within the ruins of the villa and the grotto which contained a triclinium (dining room) archaeologists excavated hundreds of pieces of sculpture. In 1957 when Sperlonga residents realized that the sculptures might be moved, repaired and displayed elsewhere, they blocked the site entrance and prevented work until they secured a commitment that the pieces would remain at Sperlonga. Today, the sculptures can be viewed at the Museum of Sperlonga.

The first century BC villa consisted of three parts: the villa itself with rooms surrounding a peristyle, a terrace near the beach, and a cave/grotto. The grotto contained a square basin immediately behind the entrance and the inner cave. In the basin was a rectangular island that was used as dining room; those eating over here, could look into the inner cave, where the statuary were displayed.

The Grotto

Tiberius featured in his grotto the legend of Odysseus, the Greek hero who wandered for years after the end of the Trojan War. Inside the cave, colossal statues depicts Odysseus’ adventures. In the center of the basin was a Scylla and, behind it, deep inside the cave, an Odysseus blinding the Cyclops Polyphemus. On the sides were a group showing Odysseus with the body of Achilles and a group of Diomedes and Odysseus stealing the Palladion. In the upper part of the cave was a Ganymedes. The Scylla is signed by Athanodorus, son of Agesander, Agesander, son of Paionius, and Polydorus, son of Polydorus who sculpted the Laocoan Group.












Next week, a heroic hunk from the sea      RitaBay


7 Responses

  1. What an interesting meal could have been shared there! (I wonder if the cook ever felt sighted by the fascination shown for the statuary. I know I would have spent more time staring than eating.)

    Great works of art should be shared with the world; but the world should come to the great works of art, not have them taken from their homelands. Glad something was done to prevent their being removed from the site.

    Thanks for another wonderful Moonday, Rita Bay!

    • And my dyslexic fingers are acting up this morning! That cook is ‘slighted’ — of course he can see! Sheesh! lol

    • I don’t think eating was the only thing they did there. Tiberius was known to be a tad kinky. When he moved down to his famous villa at Capri (an island near Naples), he became downright depraved and suffered from paranoia. He would DEFINITELY not qualify as a Heroic Hunk, Rita Bay

  2. Heading out to Roma and Venezia myself tomorrow- can’t wait to check out the hunks in person again!

    • Have a wonderful time!! So jealous, didn’t make it to Sperlonga because I didn’t know about it. Even now it is not all that well-publicized. ENJOY. Rita Bay

  3. Hi Rita, I just came across the posting on your blog about Sperlonga and the Emperor Tiberius. Sperlonga is one of my favourite places.

    I have created a Website, in English, about many of the towns and seaside resorts in this beautiful region of South Lazio:

    We have the good fortune to now live in Italy. We sold up in the UK and came to live in Italy. The place we decided to make our new home is the little town of Itri, which nestles in the foothills of the Aurunci Mountains, not far from Sperlonga.

    I write regularly about our new life in Italy on my 2 blogs.

    Avanti Sempre Avanti:

    and our “Tre Cancelle” Blog:

    Anyway …

    Ciao for Now !!!


    • Hey Louise, Don’t remember much Italian but hope you had a Buona Natale and a Felice Anno Nuovo. Love your site–the pics brings back memories of my years in Italy. Lived for two years in Alberobello with the quaint trulli houses and two years outside of Venice. LOVE history and made good use of my time in Italy, actually was able to go on archeological digs with an Italian friend who was an archaeologist. Never made it to Sperlonga but spent a lot of time in the Rome and Naples areas, especially Pompeii. You are well-located to serve as a departure point for visits to those areas. The rail system in Italy is great and can get you just about anywhere. Look forward to more of your posts. Rita Bay

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