Villa Jovis - History and Facts | History Hit

Villa Jovis

Capri, Campania, Italy

Villa Jovis was the cliff-top Capri home of Roman Emperor Tiberius.

Peta Stamper

20 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Villa Jovis

Villa Jovis, meaning the Villa of Jupiter, on the island of Capri (Italy) was the home of the Roman Emperor Tiberius for ten years from 27 AD until his death in 37 AD. Of twelve Tiberian villas on Capri mentioned by Tacitus, Villa Jovis is by far the largest and had a particularly scandalous reputation for debauchery.

Villa Jovis history

Built by Tiberius in a secluded part of the island amidst cliffs and steep slopes, Villa Jovis was well protected and many historians speculate that this was due to the emperor’s security concerns. Even today, getting to Villa Jovis is tricky and access is only available on foot up a steep hill.

Comprised of a maze of sections, rooms, passageways and corridors, Villa Jovis spanned an area of over 75,000 square feet (7,000 square metres) plus its extensive gardens, which add considerably to its size.

Villa Jovis today

The ruins of Villa Jovis offer an insight into the former grandeur of the complex, with the remains of many of its limestone walls showing an outline of the rooms. From the dining room (triclinium) and the emperor’s apartments to the baths (thermae) and even his astronomical observatory (specularium), Villa Jovis had all the trappings of opulent luxury.

Visitors can also see the innovative rain water collection system created for Tiberius, used to provide water to this difficult location. The position of the site also accounts for the structure of Villa Jovis, the inclines on which it was built requiring it to be set on several levels – unusual at the time.

Getting to Villa Jovis

From the Piazzetta, walk the length of Via Longano continuing along Via Sopramonte and finally Via Tiberio. Otherwise, from the Piazzetta take Via Le Botteghe, Via Fuorlovado, Via Croce, and finally Via Tiberio. It’s an uphill walk and will take about 45 minutes.