recorded by Pliny the Elder (HN
3.109) and by the Peutinger Table
, is on the bank of the Aniene at the foot of
the Simbruini mountains, about 70 km from Rome. Nero
had a villa constructed here (Tac. Ann
. 14.22; Frontin.
. 93), already completed in A.D. 60. The villa, of
which there survive conspicuous remnants, was built as
a series of detached buildings and rooms of varying
height along the shores of two or more artificial lakes
created by enlarging the Aniene with two or three dams;
one is the tallest known Roman example (ca. 42 m).
Three nuclei have been noted on the left bank. One, perhaps a viridarium, is in the locality called Pianello. A
second, very large, is in the locality called Casa delle
Streghe, and is made up of a nymphaeum-veranda above
and a series of rooms for habitation arranged along a
windowed corridor below. A third, which is much less
well known, is in the locality called S. Lorenzo where the
Via Sublacensis passed. On the right bank were placed
a like number of buildings, two on the upper part and
one on the lower. Only the first two have been explored.
One includes an ample room from which comes the celebrated Ephebe of Subiaco, near the ditch of S. Croce.
The other is a complex of rooms giving on a gallery, before the Casa delle Streghe and the terminus of the first
dam. The villa was inhabited until the late Imperial period and was later among the first refuges of St. Benedict, who founded nearby the important convent of S. Scolastica. In the lower part of the villa grew up the
medieaval nucleus of Subiaco. The sculptures found in
the villa are preserved in the Museo Nazional Romano
L. Canina, Gli edifizi antichi nei contorni di Roma
, V (1856) 137-39MPI
; R. Lanciani, NSc
(1883) 19-20; G. Fiorelli, NSc
(1884) 425-27; H. Philipp, RE
IV A (1931) 480; EAA
7 (1966) 537-38 (M. Torelli); N. Smith, “The Roman Dams of Subiaco,” Technology and Culture
11 (1970) 56-68.