The place where the myth of Capri began
In this palazzo, Emperor Tiberius ruled Rome for eleven years, probably by indulging in his own vices, later exaggerated and distorted by his political opponents.
This slanderous work ended up creating a brand of infamy that stained the name of Tiberius for several centuries, referred to confidentially as "Timberio" by the people of Capri, and seen by them as a dangerous menace.
History of the site
Depicted for centuries as a cruel and degenerate despot, the Emperor Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus was in fact an able and shrewd ruler, even if he was strongly conservative towards the Augustan tradition inaugurated by his father Augustus.
It was perhaps this very firmness, combined with an introverted and grumpy soul, that made him unpopular with the Senate. Historians, such as Suetonius and Tacitus, presented in their chronicles a very hostile judgement on the person and politics of Tiberius.
Villa Jovis, the largest of the twelve villas that the ruler of the world wanted built on the island, was certainly the point from which many of the terrible legends attributed to the cruelty of Tiberius emanated. The gory practice of having slaves who opposed him thrown into the void of a cliff, later named "Tiberius' Leap", is famous.
Rediscovered in the 18th century, during the reign of Carlo di Borbone, Villa Jovis underwent excavations during which many precious marble floors were removed. Serious restoration work only began in 1932 by the archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri.
Built on the top of the island's eastern headland, 300 metres above sea level, the palace had wide flights of stairs rising from the so-called "viale dei mirti" (myrtle alley) and ending in a large vestibule. This was followed by a tetrastyle atrium with four white marble bases, on which stood four cipolin marble columns.
Adjacent rooms accommodated the guardhouse, while a wide corridor with a white mosaic floor led to a second vestibule, from which there was access, to the east, to the upper floor, occupied by the bathroom and living quarters.
The bathing facilities, extending along the entire side of the palace, consisted of a series of five rooms parallel to the corridor: in the calidarium, used for hot water baths, there are two apses, one with a basin and another with a bronze basin for performing ablutions. The west side consisted of a multi-storey building for servants, with identical rooms arranged along a corridor.
The imperial residence area, on the other hand, which was accessed via a ramp, consisted of a large semi-circular hall and smaller rooms.
The Emperor's private quarters, located on the top of the mountain and facing north towards the interior of the island and west towards the sea, were secluded from the rest of the palace.
The accommodation consisted of three rooms: an entrance vestibule, with a canopied terrace in front, and two rooms with large windows and polychromatic marble inlay floors.