Studying Villa Hadriana today
The antiquarian approach always prevailed, giving great importance to abstract theories and paperwork. Only in recent times Villa Hadriana has been studied with different criteria. Salza Prina Ricotti was the first to look at the Villa from her point of view of an architect. Then followed monographical studies on single buildings, while the only systematic study is still that by De Franceschini (1991): her room-by-room catalogue entries in each building gave the key to a new interpretation of the Villa and its function.
Today, the enormous amount of information on Villa Hadriana cannot be managed without computer support, database and graphics. The collection and critical check of bibliography, cartography and the various drawings, sketches and engravings of the Villa is a challenging work.
It is extremely important to study Villa Hadriana with a multi-disciplinar approach, something that has never been done before. Together with archaeologists must work geologists, experts of pigment and building material analysis, engineers that study the static of the buildings, people who search underground remains using georadar or remote sensing, and many others more, such as people who study the vegetation, especially century old trees.
It is equally important is to examine and study the Villa on the spot, otherwise is impossible to understand its structure and meaning. Working on the spot, living in the Villa for a long time, is the only way to understand it thoroughly, and to give an answer to simple questions such as: where was the entrance, the baths and thermae, the stairways, the gardens; from where came the water supply. Why some rooms have a certain shape, how they were roofed, where were the servant's quarters, how the various levels and floors were linked together and so on.
If you wish to exchange or discuss information about Villa Hadriana, or if you have questions to ask, you can get in touch with me through the e-mail of this Site.