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  • Aiano-Torraccia di Chiusi
  • San Gimignano
  • Italy
  • Tuscany
  • Province of Siena
  • Colle di Val d'Elsa



  • The Italian Database is the result of a collaboration between:

    MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici),

    ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and

    AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica).

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Summary (English)

  • The aims of the fourth excavation campaign on the villa at Aiano-Torraccia di Chiusi were as follows: 1. definition of the plan of the so-called “trilobed room” that was discovered in 2007; 2. finish excavating the cement floor in the latter; 3. increase the excavation area in order to gain a better understanding of the spatial arrangement of the rooms within the villa.

    1. The large “trilobed room”, circa 120 m2 , had a triangular plan, each point being occupied by a circular exedra. It was established, as had been hypothesised in 2007, that it was created between the second half of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th century A.D. through the transformation of an existing six apsed central-plan room. During this restructuring alternate apses were demolished, leaving three of the original six, making way for quadrangular rooms accessed via a large ambulatory. The latter was also polylobed and was placed so as to surround the “trilobed room”. This plan, for its layout and monumental characteristics has few comparisons: amongst these, in relation to the original phase, it is possible to cite the octagonal room of the villa at Cazzanello near Tarquinia, datable to the 5th century A.D.

    2. Excavation was completed of the cement pavement, with stone base and mosaic inserts, already identified in 2007 over two thirds of the area of the “trilobed room”. Unfortunately, in the area brought to light sections of the mosaic decoration were missing. The mosaic was best preserved in the areas at the edge of the room, following the line of the walls, where a border emerged with circle and lozenge motifs. However, due to the imperfect state of preservation of the cement surface it was possible to make a small cut (circa 25 × 25 cm) in the pavement in order to examine its structural characteristics. In fact, the cement had two make ups, a thick one resting directly on the soil and a second, thinner one. Both were made up of the same components: sand, cobbles, mortar and occasional terracotta fragments. Furthermore, the surface of the upper level showed clear traces of smoothing and a thin skin of red colour. Thus the pavement was similar in form to the opus signinum structures, but the materials used were much poorer. The decorative aspect also showed anomalies, in fact, although the decorative motif can be linked to contemporary mosaic repertories, the pavement’s construction technique adapted it to local needs and contingencies, to the traditions of cement structures.

    3. The extension of the excavation brought the area under investigation to circa 1000 m2 , still not large enough, in reality, to gain an understanding of possible spatial relationships with other structures characteristic of this type of complex, for example the peristyle and baths. However, continuation of the research revealed how in the 6th-7th century A.D. several ateliers of a productive nature had been set up within the rooms of the villa. In fact, the site seemed to become an open-air quarry from which marble and metals could be “extracted” and glass could be recycled by melting the hundreds and thousands of glass paste tesserae which decorated the walls of some of the more sumptuous rooms. Finds of semi-worked objects in glass and bronze suggest a system that recycled these raw materials for uses and markets which went beyond the local sphere. This hypothesis should be confirmed by the numerous archeo-metallurgical analyses being undertaken together with an in depth study of the territory

  • Marco Cavalieri - Universitè Catholique de Louvain, Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres, Département d’Archéologie et d’Histoire de l’Art 



  • Agnese Lodi
  • Alessandra Giumlia Mair - Laboratorio Archeoanalisi Merano
  • Nadia Montevecchi - DEDALO s.a.s. Firenze
  • Sofia Ragazzini - Associazione Archeologica Sangimignanese
  • Giacomo Baldini - Museo archeologico “Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli” di Colle di Val d’Elsa
  • Carlo Alberto Garzonio - (DIRES) Università di Firenze

Research Body

  • Università degli Studi di Firenze
  • Universitè Catholique de Louvain (UCL)

Funding Body

  • Fondazione MPS
  • Fonds Nationaux pour la Recherche Scientifique (Belgium)


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