Oh how the Romans adored their mosaics, across all of Abruzzo’s four provinces fine examples of their skillful embellishment of floors and walls have been uncovered. Thankfully most were intact, tomb robbers and those looking for materials to build their new house didn’t try to prise them from off their foundations.
Over the Roman Empire’s 1000 years, the craft of mosaics was expanded into a practical art form. It moved on from the pebbles that the Greeks used to use and began using esserae (cubes of stone, ceramic, shells, or imported blue and green glass), that when inlaid would form brilliant and intricate and colourful designs. These would adorn floors and walls, and could be admired from many an angle, walked on, and easily washed. Outside of dining rooms they could be found in the baths, fountains, pools, columns, and on vaulted ceilings.
The drama or the theme of the mosaic most commonly found down by your toes would reflect the status of the property owner, and so tell its own story. Mythological scenes indicated learning, wild animals’ power and sponsorship by the owner potentially of public sports and games.
Here’s a snapshot journey through some of Abruzzo’s cities to see their best Roman mosaics