Villa Adriana - Mosaici, pavimenti, edifici
L'Erma di Bretschneider, 1991 (776 pages, 109 plans, 64 pictures)

The first systematic cataloging of the Villa Adriana, with chapters dedicated to individual buildings, which summarizes the history of the excavations, studies and restoration. Each environment has its own section that lists the building technique, decoration, the state of conservation and restoration, the intended use, water and heating. The book also studies the function of buildings based on the decorative hierarchies that allow us to identify a noble area reserved for the Emperor, a secondary zone for the high ranking personnel and a third service area for slaves, mostly underground. Post opus sectile floors, mosaics and other visible materials of the Villa in all accessible parts at that time, lists and ranks the remains of wall paintings and sculptures found in the individual buildings.

Le Ville Romane della X Regio Venetia et Histria
Catalogo e carta archeologica dell'insediamento romano nel territorio, dall'età repubblicana al tardo impero. Roma 1999, (1000 pages, 400 pictures, 20 colour plates)

The discovery of the Po Valley had for Rome the same importance that the discovery of America later had for Europe. It was the opening of a new horizon and the starting point of a rapid economic growth, which was the solid foundation of the hegemony of Rome in the Venetia et Histria and in Europe. The book lists 576 sites of villas and starting from their decoration, features and industrial plants, such as torcularia, reconstructs the economic history of that part of Italy in roman times. At the center of the roman economic system - which was consistently exported in the Mediterranean world and in the northern Provinces - were the Villas, their products, the centuriation and the main cities; then came the road network, the navigable rivers, the fluvial and sea harbours, which enabled all sorts of commerce. The history of the roman hegemony in Venetia et Histria started in the III century B.C., with the epic times of the first roman colonies; then came the 'golden' augustan times with their economic boom, and finally the difficult years of the 'decline and fall' of the Roman Empire. This book uncovers new perspectives on the III-IV centuries, the villas and their economy in late antiquity.

Gruppo Archeologico Latino, La villa Romana dell'Osservatorio Astronomico a Monte Porzio Catone 2000.
(Marina De Franceschini, mosaici, p. 71-75).

A brief preliminary presentation on mosaic pavements found during the excavations of an early imperial roman villa.

Ville dell'Agro romano
Monografie della Carta dell'Agro 2 (pp. 564, plans, maps and pictures, 70 colour plans, one map).

This book lists 100 villas in the territory surrounding Rome, choosing the best preserved ones, in order to study their plans and to devise their tipology. Most of the excavations are decades or centuries old, and it is often difficult to have access to the archives and to gather new data. Each villa has its own catalogue entry, listing building techniques, decoration, thermal plants, waterworks, industrial plants such as torcularia or furnaces, finds, and a discussion on the building and its meaning.
This consistent data-base enables us to understand many things about the way the villas were built and functioned. Most of all, it becomes self-evident that the so called otium villas, entirely devoted to luxury, meditation and rest, were very few, circumscribed to great monumental estates such as the Villa dei Quintili on the Appian way. The other villas - the vast majority of the group - always had a residential part tightly connected with a productive part, housing torcularia, furnaces, and other productive devices. This means that the villas were mainly devoted to the production of goods, which were sold on the markets of Rome: wine, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, and other goods such as wool or tools. The book gives a new contribution to the question of the slave economy and slave labour, and also shows that the villas were still rich and active well beyond the II-III centuries, which for a long time have been considered the deadline of the villa economic system in central Italy.

Renovatio and continuatio nella Villa Adriana
in Continuatio et Renovatio (Siri Sande et Lasse Hodne eds.). Institutum Romanum Norvegiae. Acta ad Archaeologiam et Artium Historiam Pertinentia, volumen XX, n.s. 6, 2006, pp. 79-103.

The presentation showed how Villa Hadriana is an example of continuatio, being the ideal heir of legendary persian and hellenistic dynastic palaces, of which nothing is left. Continuatio lies also in the persistence of traditional elements, derived from traditional roman architecture (atrium, basis villae, nymphaea, grotto) and decoration (mosaics). But together with continuatio came renovatio: tradition was a starting point from which innovations were made, as far as architecture was concerned, creating new multi-shaped domes and halls. Mosaic and opus sectile decoration stemmed out from the traditional republican repertoire, but old patterns and drawings were re-invented and renewed with endless fantasy. Continuatio and renovatio are also visible in the impact that Villa Adriana had on Renaissance, Baroque and modern architecture.

M. De Franceschini, A.M. Marras, Progetto AcCADemia nella Villa Adriana di Tivoli.
Le gallerie sotterranee di servizio: confronto e verifica delle piante antiche e moderne mediante indagini geoelettriche

The article, published in the Folders of the Fasti Online, is the outcome of a Poster presented at the XVII International Congress of Classical Archaeology, "Meetings beteween Cultures in the Ancient Mediterranean", held in Rome, september 22-26, 2008.
Using the new geophysical technologies, which are non destructive and non invasive, it was possible to 'see' under the surface and to reconstruct the bearing of one of the subterranean service tunnels of the Accademia. The antiquarian plans by Contini (1168) and Piranesi (1781) and other more recent ones were the starting point of the survey. The results confirmed the reliability of the plan by Piranesi, opening a new path in the reconstruction and understanding of the subterranean network of the building.

M. De Franceschini, A.M. Marras
La riscoperta dei percorsi sotterranei dell'Accademia mediante indagini geofisiche
in Villa Adriana. Una storia mai finita. Novità e prospettive della ricerca. Roma 2010 pp. 105-112 Catalogo della mostra nell'Antiquarium del Canopo di Villa Adriana 1° aprile -1° novembre 2010

M. De Franceschini, G. Veneziano
Villa Adriana. Architettura Celeste. I Segreti dei Solstizi.
Rirella Editrice 2016 (pp. 250, 180 pictures).
Link: sold on Amazon

There is no need to go to Stonehenge in Great Britain, to Abu Simbel in Egypt or to Chichen Itza in Mexico to see the magic light effects of Solstice and Equinox. They exist also in Italy, in Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, and still function. Emperor Hadrian can amaze us with extraordinary light phenomena that are happening in the Accademia and in Roccabruna only during the days of the Solstices. In this book you will discover a new and fascinating field of study on the meaning of roman architecture and on the symbolic power of the rays of the Sun.

M. De Franceschini
Villa Adriana. Accademia. Hadrian's Secret Garden.
Fabrizio Serra Editore 2016 (pp. 240, 261 pictures, 5 maps).
Link: sold on LibraWeb

Villa Adriana or Hadrian's Villa near Tivoli (Rome) is the largest and most famous Roman Imperial villa and needs no introduction. But the Accademia does, because is in a private property, in the southern part of the Villa, not open to visitors, and it is very little known and studied. This is why the author decided to study it, using for the first time digital technology and laser scanner to draw a new updated plan and discover its features. After the survey, the starting point was reading previous antiquarian sources and studies, collecting ancient maps and drawings, to see what had been done and studied before. It turned out to be an extraordinary journey among the greatest artists of all times, who visited and studied the Accademia and the rest of the Villa. This is how and why this book was born: to tell the story of the building and of its works of art, and to talk about the outstanding artists, antiquarians and architects who studied there and were inspired by its imposing ruins. Rediscovering this place is also important to understand the nature of the structure that some scholars believed to have been a villa within the Villa, that is to say the residence of Hadrian's wife, Vibia Sabina. There is no evidence about this, hence the importance of knowing more about a site for which it is still possible to answer questions about its real nature and connotation, although it is badly kept. The author's choice to write this work in English is a very effective action in order to expand knowledge and open to the whole world the analysis of a monument like no other, which since several decades has a place of excellence within the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


Marina De Franceschini
"Piante antiche e tecnologie moderne nell'Accademia della Villa Adriana di Tivoli (Roma)"
Presentation in Bern (Switzerland), International Conference: Historic Maps and Imagery for Modern Scientific Applications, Bern, november 28th-30th, 2008. ( vedi: De Franceschini 2009a

Marina De Franceschini - Anna Maria Marras - Umberto Pavanello
"Progetto AcCADdemia. Confronto delle piante antiche e moderne dell'Accademia di Villa Adriana attraverso un survey geoelettrico".
Poster presented at the XVII International Congress of Classic Archaeology "Meeting between Cultures in the Ancient Mediterranean World", Rome, september 22nd-26th, 2008.

Marina De Franceschini - Anna Maria Marras
"New Discoveries with Geophysics at Hadrian's Villa near Tivoli, Rome (Italy)".
Presentation in Vienna (Austria), European Geosciensces Union - General Assembly 2009. Gi9 - Near surface geophysics for the study and the management of historical resources: past, present and future, Vienna, april 23rd, 2009. (

Marina De Franceschini
"Accademia Pilot Project in Hadrian's Villa near Tivoli (Rome, Italy): problems in archiving ancient and modern data".
Presentation in Vienna (Austria), 14th Workshop Archäologie und Computer, Museen der Stadt Wien, Vienna, november 16th-19th, 2009. (show PDF)
Marina De Franceschini
“Archeoastronomia nella Roma di Augusto e di Adriano: l’Horologium Augusti ed il Pantheon”
in Atti del 12° Seminario di Archeaoastronomia Alssa, Genova april 17th-18th, 2010, pp. 10-35 (

Marina De Franceschini - Giuseppe Veneziano
"Architettura Celeste nella Villa Adriana di Tivoli" presentation at the X Convegno S.I.A. (Società Italiana di Archeoastronomia), Trinitapoli (Bari, Italy), october 22nd-23rd, 2010.

Marina De Franceschini - Giuseppe Veneziano
"Architettura Celeste nella Villa Adriana di Tivoli"
13° Seminario di Archeaoastronomia Alssa, Genova april 9th-10th, 2011.
( - Architettura celeste Villa Adriana.pdf)

Marina De Franceschini
"Archeoastronomia nell’antica Roma: il Mausoleo degli Equinozi"
Presentation at the XI Convegno Nazionale della Società Italiana di Archeoastronomia, Bologna, 28-29 ottobre 2011, Marzabotto (Bologna) october 30th, 2011.

Marina De Franceschini
"Uno straordinario puzzle musivo nell'Accademia della Villa Adriana di Tivoli"
Presentation at the XVIII Colloquium of the Associazione italiana per lo studio e la conservazione del mosaico (Aiscom), Cremona march 14th-17th, 2012.

Marina De Franceschini
"Orientamenti equinoziali nel Mediterraneo: il tempio preistorico di Mnajdra a Malta e il Mausoleo degli Equinozi a Roma"
Presentation at the 14th Seminar of Archaeoastronomy of the Associazione Ligure per lo Sviluppo degli Studi Archeoastronomici (ALSSA), Genova march 24th-25th, 2012.
( - Orientamenti equinoziali nel Mediterraneo.pdf)

Marina De Franceschini - Giuseppe Veneziano
"Architecture and Archaeoastronomy in Hadrian’s Villa near Tivoli, Rome"
Presentation at the Nexus 2012 International Conference, Relationships between Architecture and Mathematics, Politecnico di Milano, june 11th-14th, 2012.

Marina De Franceschini - Giuseppe Veneziano
"Archeoastronomia nelle ville imperiali romane: villa Jovis a Capri"
Presentation at the XII Convegno della Società Italiana di Archeoastronomia, Albano Laziale october 5-6, 2012.

Marina De Franceschini - Giuseppe Veneziano
Conference "Villa Adriana. Architettura Celeste e segreti dei Solstizi"
Series of meetings at the Auditorium of Acquario di Genova: Archeoastronomia: l'immaginario celeste nelle pietre del passato, Genova october 31, 2012.
Presented by Prof. Gioia De Luca, former Professor of Archaeology at the University of Genoa.
Marina De Franceschini - Giuseppe Veneziano
"Archeoastronomia nelle ville imperiali romane: villa Jovis a Capri"
Presentation at the XV Seminario di Archeoastronomia dell’Associazione Ligure per lo Sviluppo degli Studi Archeoastronomici (ALSSA), Genova april 13-14, 2013.

Marina De Franceschini
"Villa Adriana, Accademia. I mosaici di monsignor Furietti"
Presentation at the XX Colloquio Aiscom, Rome march 19-22, 2014.