Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra (House of the Stone Carpets)
Historic Site and Museum in Ravenna
The Domus of the Stone Carpets is a remarkable archaeological site located in the basement of the late-baroque Church of Sant’Eufemia in Ravenna, Italy. It is considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Italy in recent decades.
Discovery and Significance:
- The site was discovered between 1993 and 1994 during the construction of an underground park in Via D’Azeglio.
- The complex of buildings at the site dates back to various periods between the 1st and 6th centuries AD.
- The most prominent feature of this archaeological site is the presence of “stone carpets,” which refer to marble and mosaic floors with elaborate decorative designs.
- The excavations revealed a 700-square-meter complex known as the “Byzantine palace.” This complex consists of 14 rooms and 2 courtyards.
- It is believed to date back to the 6th century AD and was likely owned by a wealthy family in Ravenna during that period.
- The archaeological site also includes various layers of history, ranging from the late Roman Republic to the Byzantine era.
- Among the findings are residences dating back to the High Roman Empire, a 1st-century thermal plant and residence, a 4th-century building, an early medieval residence, and a necropolis likely associated with the nearby Church of Sant’Eufemia, which served as the foundation for the 18th-century church.
What to See:
- Visitors can explore the site via raised walkways that allow them to walk around the entire perimeter and admire the stunning floor mosaics.
- The museum setup highlights the rich Byzantine residence with the merging of two originally separate buildings, separated by a paved Roman road that is still visible.
- The entire complex is adorned with marble inlays and polychromatic tesserae (mosaic tiles) featuring intricate patterns and figurative elements.
- One of the standout features is the large banquet hall with a mosaic representation known as the “Dance of the Geniuses of the Seasons.” This mosaic portrays figures representing the seasons, including Autumn, Spring, Winter, and Summer.
- Another notable area is the reception hall, characterized by the extension of the mosaic beyond the frame of the first flooring.
- The site also includes representations of a shepherd, possibly a Good Shepherd, which may harken back to an even older structure.
The Domus of the Stone Carpets offers a captivating journey through history, with its well-preserved architectural features and stunning mosaic decorations that provide valuable insights into the life and culture of Ravenna during various historical periods.
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Visiting Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra (House of the Stone Carpets)
Every day: 10 am – 6.30 pm