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Roman emperor’s estate aligned to the sun

New research has shown that some of the buildings erected on the country estate of the Roman emperor Hadrian were aligned with the sun to produce spectacular light effects.

For centuries, scholars have thought that the more than 30 buildings at Hadrian’s palatial country estate were oriented more or less randomly. But De Franceschini says that during the summer solstice, blades of light pierce two of the villa’s buildings.

In one, the Roccabruna, light from the summer solstice enters through a wedge-shaped slot above the door and illuminates a niche on the opposite side of the interior (see image). And in a temple of the Accademia building, De Franceschini has found that sunlight passes through a series of doors during both the winter and summer solstices.

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Story: Eric Hand, Nature News | Photo: M. De Franceschini

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