(Castel Gandolfo) Latium, Italy.
The most eminent city of the Latin league is now
believed to have been situated here, 24 km SE of Rome.
Remains have been found of villas datable to the Late
Republican and the Imperial periods, including the villa
of Domitian, whose peregrinations along the lake are
referred to by Pliny the Younger (Pan
. 81.82). Domitian's villa contained its own theater, and also a grotto
along the coast of Lake Albano where a number of fragmentary sculptures in high relief were found in 1841.
There were identifiable as a gigantic recumbent Polyphemos, a ram, a Scylla, etc., reminiscent of the sculptures
found at Sperlonga. The grotto itself resembles the one
at Sperlonga in that it consists of several sections: a large
circular one in the middle, and several smaller ones along
the sides. The Polyphemos is in the same late Hellenistic
style as the similar statue from Sperlonga; and though its
surface is considerably worn, the variegated modeling
also seems to point to Greek workmanship, contemporary
with the Pergamine Altar.
The grotto here and at Sperlonga suggest that there
were in Greece—perhaps on Rhodes or at Pergamon—grottos adorned with sculptures representing the adventures of Odysseus and other Homeric heroes, which were
later taken by the Romans to Italy and placed in similar
settings. Such grottos with several divisions may be found
along the indented coast of many Greek lands, and one
of them has been immortalized in Homer's description of
Odysseus' encounter with Polyphemos (Od
G. Lugli, “Lo scavo fatto nel 1841 nel
Ninfeo detto Bergantino sulla riva del lago Albano,”
41 (1913) 89ff; id., “La villa di Domiziano sui
colli Albani,” BullCom
47 (1919) 153ff and 48 (1920)
3ff; id., “Una Pianta e due Ninfei di età imperiale romana,” Scritti di Storia dell'Arte in onore di Edoardo
(1966) 47ff; A. Halland, “Une transposition de
la grotte de Tibère à Sperlonga: Le Ninfeo Bergantino di
Castelgandolfo,” Mel. Ec. Franc. de Rome
421ff; F. Magi, “Il Polfemo di Castel Gandolfo,” RendPontAcc
41 (1969) 69ff; K. D. Licht, Analecta Romana
7 (1974) 37-66.
. T. Ashby, “Alba Longa,” JP
37ff; G. Lugli, “Albano Laziale,” NSc
(1946) 60ff; E. L.
Wadsworth, “Stucco reliefs of the first and second centuries,” Memoirs Am. Ac
. 4 (1924) 49ff; EAA
68 (F. Castagnoli).