Villa of San Gilio

World Monuments Watch
Oppido Lucano, Italy

2010 World Monuments Watch

The Roman villa of San Gilio is situated in Basilicata, on the eastern side of a hill providing panoramic vistas of a wide plain still exploited for large-scale wheat production, exactly as it was centuries ago. Within this surviving ancient landscape, the remains of the 1st-century B.C. villa include two large bath complexes, a monumental fountain, and a large cistern. The monumentality of the site, the building techniques, the long continuity of occupation, and above all the inscriptions and brick stamps suggest the possible owners of the villa: the Veidii, Iunii, and Valerii, some of the most important and influential families of ancient Italy. The villa lies in an area rich in other archaeological sites, such as the Hellenistic villa of Moltone di Tolve (4th–2nd centuries B.C.), which is one of the most important Hellenistic villas of southern Italy, and the Roman and Late Antique villas of Masseria Ciccotti and S. Pietro di Tolve. However, this remarkable Roman villa faces many conservation challenges caused by modern activities. Looters armed with metal detectors are destroying the site in their search for coins and other precious materials. Modern agricultural works cause damage to the architectural structures, which have already suffered from past seismic activity. To steward this landscape more effectively, an integrated plan for interpretation, visitation, and preservation has been proposed, but has yet to be fully implemented.

Last updated: July 2017.

Join us in safeguarding significant places.