The House of Livia.

My boyfriend and I were lucky to enjoy a short holiday in Rome last week. It was the first time there for both of us and we walked miles every day to see as much as we could.  We concentrated mostly on the ancient city and museums and managed to cram in so many amazing things. We both love ancient history and Mark is getting to be quite knowledgable on all things Roman so it was wonderful to see everything ‘in the flesh’. Of all the inspiring things we saw, my favourite has to be the house of the empress Livia. We climbed the Palantine hill to see the remains of the imperial palaces. It was surprising how intimate some of the rooms and gardens were. You can still view the frescos in the house of Augustus- beautiful, elaborate paintings (which are still brightly coloured) in surprisingly small rooms, some quite tiny. It brought the past vividly alive.

In the National Museum of Rome (Palazzo Massimo alle Terme) we saw the beautiful garden room which is thought to have come from the house of Livia. It is simply stunning and quite took my breath away. The paintings completely cover the four walls and gives you the impression of having wandered into an enchanted, mediterranean garden. The colours have softened over time and are lovely, soothing shades of greens and blues. There are orchards and groves of trees and beautiful garden flowers everywhere. The flowers are all easily identifiable. Perching in the branches are lots of birds, all beautifully painted. Apparently the room was originally semi underground, lit by a skylight in the ceiling. It is easy to imagine what a cool, soothing sanctuary the room would have been, perfect for escaping the summer heat.  I didn`t take photographs in the museum, but here are some images I found online…house of livia 1

house of livia 2

house of livia 3 house of livia 4 house of livia 5

house of livia 6 house of livia 7

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house of livia 12

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