The first exhaustive presentation of the precious coloured marbles and magnificent frescoes that came to light during the excavation of the Janiculum tunnel in Rome.
This catalogue reflects on the importance, also symbolic, of the luxurious aspect of architectural decoration from antiquity to the eighteenth century. The volume begins with a an informative, concise account of the excavations that during work on the tunnel and parking facilities for the Holy Year – which soon made the headlines in Rome – brought to light some remarkable archaeological sites on the slopes of the Janiculum Hill. They contained an important fresco cycle, which has been detached and mounted on various walls, a fine marble statuette of Aphrodite (Charis), a rich assortment of architectural decoration (pilaster strips, capitals, bases, cornices, crustae) fashioned in precious and exotic coloured marbles decorated with three-dimensional flower motifs carved with remarkable skill, and diaphanous alabasters.
Presented for the first time here, these finds are offset by especially taken photographs and arranged according to type, with particular attention being devoted to execution techniques, to the symbolic and status value of certain stones, and to formulating the first hypothetical reconstructions. This first section is completed by a comprehensive sample of the stones used. The second part of the catalogue contains detailed descriptions of other fragments in opus sectile from the domus dating to the Imperial Age, which have been installed (along with two fine tables with Florentine inlay work) in the ideal setting of Palazzo Altemps, whose architecture and historical collections include equally fine examples of inlay work and sculpture in polychrome marbles.