Excavation Site

The Gioiella-Vaiano Villa site (Commune of Castiglione del Lago) is located on a hill overlooking Lago di Chiusi near the border of Tuscany and Umbria in central Italy. Local residents have long known that there was an ancient site below the modern plough-soil, but no prior excavation has been conducted in the area. Preliminary evidence suggests that the site was occupied from the 2nd century B.C. through the 3rd century A.D. A central question for our project is the changing role of the villa in central Etruria from the mid-Republican to the late Imperial periods. In addition, the Etruscan presence in the territory is largely known from chance finds and limited exploration. This material, namely from tombs, attests to the region’s occupation since the 7th century BC.

The villa comprises two main areas: the central area nymphaeum (a reservoir) and the lower terrace and bath complex. The most significant feature of the central area is a monumental building with niches decorated like a grotto surrounding a water-proof basin lined with cocciopesto (waterproof smashed cement). Four seasons of excavation in the bath area have revealed a drainage system in addition to at least three rooms of the bath complex.

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