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Villa Romana

Desenzano del Garda

The Museum

The Villa Romana (Roman villa) archaeological area in Desenzano, on Lake Garda, is one of the most important late antique villas in Northern Italy.

The most important findings discovered are on display in the exhibition rooms of the Antiquarium, built inside the villa.

The History

Villa Romana di Desenzano

Villa Romana di Desenzano

The Villa originally stood in a highly scenic spot, facing towards the lake, just a short distance to the north of Via Gallica, the main road connecting Bergamo (Bergomum), Brescia (Brixia) and Verona. It was built in different stages between the 1st century B.C. and the 4th century A.D.: the parts that can still be seen today mostly date back to the last stage, when the spaces inside the villa were reorganised and divided into different sectors. Although the name of the owner of the villa is uncertain, it is possible that the person who ordered this final stage of the works was Flavius Magnus Decentius, brother of the Emperor Magnentius (350 – 353 A.C.), from whom the city of Desenzano takes its name today.

The Area

Villa Romana - L'area dello scavo

Villa Romana - L'area dello scavo

The villa complex covered a surface area of around a hectare, in which the residential quarters stood alongside farm buildings.

At the time of its construction, the villa looked over the lake. The surrounding landscape must have been the decisive element in the distribution of the rooms, which all offered a panoramic view.

The site had a number of ramifications made of piers and quays, and probably ponds where the fish was farmed. Several charming and well-preserved coloured mosaic floors portray pagan scenes.

The heritage

The most important findings discovered in the villa area are on display in the three exhibition rooms in the Antiquarium.

The first one houses ceramic kitchen and dining receptacles and small bronze utensils. Fragments of the statues, which decorated the villa, are on display in the second hall. In the third hall, two large panels exhibit the fragments of a decorative fresco, which adorned one of the rooms in the villa.

  • Statue of Hercules

    Statue of Hercules

    The white marble sculpture on display in the second hall dates back to the mid-2nd century A.D. Along with the other effigies exhibited in this room, it adorned one of the villa gardens, in particular either the one open to visitors or the one reserved for the owner and his family.

  • Glass cup

    Glass cup

    Dated to the late 4th century A.D., the image on the outer surface portrays Christ talking to a rooster. The nighttime scene, shown by the stars in the background, may be interpreted as alluding to Peter's triple denial of Christ, according to a famous passage from the Gospels.

  • Portrait of a young man

    Portrait of a young man

    It is the case of a white Carrara marble bust of an adolescent, from a life-size statue. It is probably a celebratory representation of one of the owners’ family members of the villa in the 2nd century A.D., according to a common custom among the various domus and villas at the time.

Address

Via Crocefisso, 22
25015 Desenzano del Garda

Ownership

Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities

Tipology

Archaeological area

More info

Info

Opening hours (SUMMER) from 1 March to 30 September

Monday: closed
Tueseday: 8.30 – 19.30
Wednesday: 8.30 – 19.30
Thursday: 8.30 – 19.30
Friday: 8.30 – 19.30
Saturday: 8.30 – 19.30
Sunday: 14.00 – 19.30

Opening hours (WINTER)

Monday: closed
Tueseday: 8.30 – 19.30
Wednesday: 8.30 – 19.30
Thursday: 8.30 – 19.30
Friday: 8.30 – 19.30
Saturday: 8.30 – 19.30
Sunday: 8.30 – 14.00

Ticket office closing: 30’ before closing time

Other info: DUE TO THE COVID EMERGENCY OPENING TIMES HAVE BEEN REDUCED. MAXIMUM 20 VISITORS WILL BE ALLOWED TO ENTER THE MUSEUM EVERY 20'. RESERVATION COMPULSORY HERE https://www.midaticket.it/garda Other information: On weekdays and Saturdays Sectors B C D close at 5.00 pm, Antiquarium and Sector A in the archaeological area at 7.00 pm. First Sunday of the month, extended opening until 5.00 pm (Sectors B C D) or 7.00 pm (Antiquarium and Sector A of the archaeological area) Closed on: Mondays, 1 January and 25 December. Unless otherwise instructed by the office in charge at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MIBACT). For extraordinary opening times, consult the Museum Pole website, or the MIBACT and the official social networks of the Museum Winter opening hours: Sundays closed at 2.00 pm. First Sunday of the month, extended opening until 5.00 pm (Sectors B C D) or 7.00 pm (Antiquarium and Sector A of the archaeological area)

Address

Via Crocefisso, 22
25015 Desenzano del Garda

How to get here

The archaeological area is located in the historical centre of Desenzano in Via Crocefisso 22, near Lake Garda just a short walk from the Cathedral. The villa lies 15 minutes on foot from Desenzano del Garda railway station (Milan-Venice line). By car, from Milan, on the A35 or A4, exit at Desenzano on the A4 Milan-Venice motorway. A multi-storey car park is available in the immediate vicinity.

Contacts

+39 030 9143547
www.villaromanadesenzano.beniculturali.it
villaromana.desenzano@beniculturali.it

Full ticket

€4

Reduced ticket

€2 (for Italian and EU nationals aged 18 to 24)
Until 31 July 2018, entry €2 for anyone with a ticket for the Grottoes of Catullus in Sirmione or the cumulative ticket for all sites in Sirmione

Free entry: anyone aged under 18, students (with a named document signed by the school), school teachers (with certificate issued by the school).
Free entry also on the first Sunday of the month and on other special occasions.
For a complete list of free entries consult the following page: http://www.beniculturali.it/mibac/export/MiBAC/sito-MiBAC/MenuPrincipale/LuoghiDellaCultura/Agevolazioni/

Cumulative ticket

The archaeological area is part of the “Abbonamento Musei Lombardia” card circuit for entry to museums, residences, castles and gardens in the Lombardy region.
Until 31 July 2018, entry €2 for anyone with a ticket for the Grottoes of Catullus in Sirmione or the cumulative ticket for all sites in Sirmione.

Payment methods

Cash, Credit card

Booking

Mandatory

Toilets

Present