Villa dei Quintili, Rome
Ancient Roman Ruins Without the Crowds

Villa dei Quintili was the largest Roman villa complex in the suburbs. Originally built by the Quintili family, the villa was taken over by Emperor Comodus when he had the bothers executed in 182 – 183 AD and the villa became imperial property, enlarged and used by emperors until the 5th century. The huge Villa dei Quintili complex was on Via Appia Antica, or ancient Appian Way, the old Roman road built in 312 BC that arrives in Rome at Porta San Sebastiano (formerly Porta Appia), one of the city gates.

Today the entrance to the Villa dei Quintili archaeological site is on Via Appia Nuova although it can still be seen through the fence on the old Appain Way. It’s a pleasant escape from the crowds at the more popular ancient Roman sites, such as the Colosseum and Forum, in the center of Rome.

villa dei quintili site
Remains of the ancient Villa dei Quintili by James Martin

What to See at Villa dei Quintili

Entering the site, visitors first pass through the Antiquarium where there are Roman statues and other artifacts found at the villa or on the Appian Way nearby. There are also restrooms near the entrance and to the left of the antiquarium is a garden with twins of some of the biggest trees in Italy.

From the entrance it’s a nice walk up to the remains of the villa complex and ancient baths. Arriving at the villa, you’ll see a round area and rooms that were the residential area for both the owners and the servants. Also in this complex are the baths with both a calidarium that had hot water and a frigidarium with cold water. Some of the mosaic floors remain and there are traces of frescoes on a few of the walls.

quintili villa ruins
Ruins of Villa dei Quintili, Rome, by James Martin

From this complex there are impressive views that include remains of the ancient Roman aqueducts in the distance. A little way from the residence are remains of a large cistern and aqueduct connecting it to a smaller cistern and the nympheum fountain. There are also remains of a stadium.

Walking further toward Appia Antica you arrive at the remains of the nympheum, a huge fountain built by Emperor Comodus. This is where people would enter arriving along the Appian Way. On the right was a long portico that led to the gardens.

nympheum photo
Remains of the villa's grand fountain by the Appian Way.

How to Visit Villa dei Quintili

Hours: Currently (2020) open Thursday through Sunday, 9AM until sunset (see web site below for specific hours by month). Closed on January 1, May 1, and December 25. Ticket office closes one hour before site closing. Check current hours and ticket price on Coop Culture, Villa dei Quintili

Location: Site entrance address is Via Appia Nuova 1092. Ancient entrance was at the 5th milestone of the Appia Antica, where you can see the nympheum through the fence (but you can’t enter there).

Getting There: From the city center, take Bus 118 (from Piazza Venezia or near Circo Massimo Metro Line B stop) or take Metro Line A to Colli Albani and then bus 664. Get off at Appia/Squillace stop, just before the Villa (ask the driver to tell you when to get off).

From Via Appia Antica, walk to the 118 bus stop by turning at the corner by Caffe del Appia Antica where there are bike rentals and walking to the Appia Pignatelli- Almone stop, about a 5 minute walk. A great place to stop for lunch before you head to the bus stop is Trattoria Qui Nun Se More Mai, Via Appia Antica 198, across the street from the caffe.

If you want to walk from Appia Antica, take Appia Pignatelli until you get to Appia Nuova, where you turn right. It’s about an hour walk.

Bus tickets: Buy your bus ticket at a bar or tabacchi before you get on the bus and validate it in the machine on the bus the first time you use it.

villa dei quintili photo
Villa dei Quintili, Rome. Photo by James Martin

Plan Your Visit to Rome

roman mosaic floor photo
Mosaic floor and traces of frescoes at Villa dei Quintili

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Villa dei Quintili, Rome originally appeared on MarthasItaly.com , updated: Jan 22, 2021.