Benedetta ADEMBRI1 / Sergio DI TONDO2 / Filippo FANTINI3
(1Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Lazio, Roma, Italy / 2University of Florence; Italy / 3Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Spain)



Some buildings in Hadrian’s Villa, as the Maritime Theatre and Piazza d’Oro, show trabeation with a characteristic curvilinear shape decorated with figured friezes. The dispersal of most of the decoration of Hadrian’s Villa inpublic and private collections involves difficulties in replacing the friezes in each building.

As already known, the architectural decoration of the southern pavilion of Piazza d’Oro, subjected to anastylosis operations in 1960/1961, had been soon removed in the early seventies, because considered a wrong solution. Also in the Maritime Theatre several figured friezes have been wrong replaced inside the building, as already stated by recent studies.

A new integrated approach applied to the study of the curvilinear shape friezes, belonging to the Maritime Theatre, allowed to make new reliable assumptions about the replacement of

the architectural decoration; however, the state of conservation of the masonry does not provide enough evidence for the reconstruction of the original aspect of this building.

Piazza d’Oro, which shows an architectural decoration very close to the Maritime Theatre, could be a meaningful comparison to a better understanding of the design solutions adopted in Hadrian’s buildings with curvilinear shape. Figured friezes from Piazza d’Oro, preserved in the Villa and in other Italian and European collections, are the key elements for solving the problem of how the curvilinear marble elements were assembled.



Starting from digital survey of the original fragments is possible to acquire an amount of information useful to recompose the figurative cycles of the southern pavilion of Piazza d’Oro. As shown by our research on the Maritime Theatre, the usage of digital survey tools is the best suited for the documentation of the friezes. Additionally, IBDP (Image Based Data Processing) techniques let us inquiry the metrical and formal features of gathered data in a

way that make easier both the portability and the visualization of digitalised

architectural decoration.


The systematic documenting and cataloguing of all known fragments, using available technology allows us to produce an archive that will be useful for the investigation about metric and formal features, so as the improvement of a high performance management system of heterogeneus data. The study of the southern pavilion of Piazza d’Oro is being developed in order to achieve more technical information about planning and building of curvilinear shape solutions, also useful for the development of the research about Maritime Theatre.


The usage of a fit approach to this specific research (Digital applications in cultural heritage research with no analogue alternatives). The study of the formal and metric features of the southern pavilion of Piazza d’Oro decorative system and continual comparison with the architectural basis, with the aim of proposing synthetic solutions on which the virtual reconstruction assumptions can be based.



digital application, archiving, dispersal, architectural decoration, Hadrian’s Villa