First-century tyrant Caligula used a magical estate and its accompanying garden as a retreat during his four-year reign. (He was also assassinated there.) On the outskirts of Rome, on Esquiline Hill, Caligula housed imported animals and oddities, oversaw the construction of an exquisite botanical complex and leveraged his wealth. Scholars believed that when he died, his estate was likely pillaged and the belongings unlikely to be recovered. But a dig that began in the 19th century under a condemned apartment building yielded a bounty that forms the basis of a new museum established by Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Cultural Activities and Tourism. Nymphaeum Museum of Piazza Vittorio (as its called) will display excavated parts of the original garden and many of the items once inside the accompanying estate—everything from gems, coins and ceramics to citron, apricot and acacia, bones of peacocks and bears, and beyond. Read more at The New York Times.
Image courtesy of Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times