A little under an hour’s walk away from Capri town centre is Villa Jovis, the largest and best-preserved of the Roman villas built on the island.
It was the residence of Emperor Tiberius, Augustus’ successor, who spent more of the last years of his life on Capri than in Rome.
It was an extensive building project based on the typical plan for Patrician villas of the period: there are servants quarters, private living spaces and the inevitable section of the villa dedicated to thermal baths, always an essential feature in aristocratic Roman dwellings. There is also the part of the villa where matters of office and delegation were carried out, and official visitors were received.
The structures visible today cover an area of around 7000 square metres – this would only be a part of the original villa complex, which must have included nymphaea, parkland and gardens.
Of particular interest is the Imperial loggia, 92 metres in length, that is built along the outcropping rock 20 metres above the level of the palace. It’s an excellent viewpoint, from which you can enjoy the finest view of the Gulf of Naples and the entire island of Capri.
Standing in this place today, it’s easy to imagine why Tiberius would have wanted to spend the hot summer months here rather than in the stifling heat and chaos of the capital.