The Villa of Giannutri
The Villa can be visited by booking a guided tour between the months of April to September.
Isola di Giannutri, Comune dell'isola del Giglio (GR)
The small island of Giannutri is a natural paradise which the Romans identified as an ideal place for relaxation and indulgence. It is no coincidence, therefore, that the entire eastern part of the island is occupied by the remains of an imposing senatorial villa, built by the Domitii Ahenobarbi family, who also owned the Saraceno complex in Giglio Porto.
The villa is made up of several distinct structures built both on the coast and also further inland. Archaeologists have uncovered a port area at Cala Maestra, a terrace with bathhouse, a second terrace with service areas, a residential area and large cisterns. In terms of architecture and building techniques, the complex can be classed as an Imperial villa dedicated to otium, a Roman concept describing time spent in recreational and intellectual pursuits, and was built between the first and second centuries AD. The baths and the residential area were decorated with rich polychrome mosaics depicting mythological scenes and geometric decorations, while the walls and columns were covered with precious marble from around the Mediterranean. The residential area was accessed through a corridor lined with pink marble and a rich staircase with white marble steps, ending on a plateau overlooking Monte Mario, covered with pink-purple marble slabs.
The peristyle, which is at the heart of the complex, is a striking quadrangular space covered with yellow, grey and red marble, at the centre of which is the basin known as the impluvium, with three of its original six columns still standing. The view from the peristyle is unique, sweeping across the sea of Giannutri to the nearby island of Giglio.
Giannutri, off the mass tourism trail, has been prized since ancient times as an ideal place for relaxation. One of the most scenic maritime villas in the whole archipelago.
Together with the villas of Santa Liberata (Porto Santo Stefano) and Saraceno (Giglio Porto), the Villa of Giannutri completed a triangle of luxury residences, all owned by the same Domitii Ahenobarbi family. The three villas were the cornerstones of their territorial control, and were run by an army of workers. The harbours were particularly important and remained in use until late antiquity because of the need to connect the island territory with the mainland and to control the trade routes along the Tyrrhenian coast.
The Villa at Giannutri is not accessible to people with disabilities and there are no visitor services aside from the guided tours.
How to get there
Take the ferry from Giglio Porto or Porto Santo Stefano to reach the island of Giannutri. During the summer season there are daily connections.