If you find the ruins of many archaeological sites on the islands a little poignant, although fascinating, this restored 3rd-century Roman villa provides an inspiring contrast.
Marble walls and inlays, mosaics, sculptures and frescoes are a tribute to the archaeologists who excavated and restored the building, on the site of an earlier Hellenistic residence, after the earthquake which devastated so much of the island in 1933.
The island was under Italian occupation at the time, and archaeologist Luciano Laurenzi led the project, which lasted until 1940.
The villa is usually closed on Mondays and national holidays, but has accessibility for disabled visitors, and entry is free on International Museums Day each May, and on other selected heritage days.
The villa, once home to a wealthy family and reminiscent of the style of those in Pompeii, has 36 rooms, over two floors and three open atriums. It is also noted for having had a well-constructed drainage system while parts of the open spaces have been turned into gardens, featuring examples of Doric, Ionian and Corinthian columns.
Some of the rooms have ornate styling and would have been used for entertaining and formal occasions, while others are clearly designed for more day-to-day domestic purposes.
There are information panels throughout, as well as guide leaflets (including Braille) and an audio tour is available.
A statue of Athena, goddess of wisdom, is among the sculptures on display, while among the first exhibits encountered by visitors is a well-preserved mosaic depicting a big cat attacking a deer. The mosaic floor of the central room continues the theme with representations of tigers and panthers, while other areas feature marine motifs, including dolphins.
If you haven’t quite had your fill of ruins, you could combine your visit to the villa with the neighbouring, second century Temple of Dionysus, the god of wine.
And then it’s just a case of a relaxing in the evening to talk about your day over a good glass of Greek wine!