Villa Jovis, or Villa of Jupiter in English, is a Roman palace on Capri built by emperor Tiberius and completed in AD 27. Tiberius mainly ruled ancient Rome from the palace until his death in AD 37. Today, the palace is in ruins and serves as the perfect point with incredible views to hike through the forests of the island – in an effort to get a little exercise as well as take-in a little bit of history.
Villa Jovis is the largest of the twelve Tiberian villas on Capri mentioned by Tacitus. The entire complex, spanning several terraces, covers some 1.7 acres. While the remaining eight levels of walls and staircases only hint at the grandeur the building must have had in its time, recent reconstructions have shown the villa to be a remarkable testament to 1st-century Roman architecture. The villa is situated in the northeastern part of the island, atop Monte Tiberio. The mountains nearly 1000-foot elevation makes it the second-highest peak on Capri.
The north wing of the building contained the living quarters, while the south wing saw administrative use. The east wing was meant for receptions, whereas the west wing featured an open-walled hall which offered a scenic view towards the islands higher town, Anacapri. As water was difficult to come by where the villa was built, Roman engineers constructed an intricate system for the collection of rainwater from the roofs and a large cistern that supplied the palace with fresh water, which was incredibly advanced for the time.
Access to the complex is only possible on foot, and involves an uphill walk of about two kilometres from Capri town. But, as someone who has done it, I can tell you the peace and serenity of the walk and the incredible views from Villa Jovis are incomparable. You might even get to see some of the area’s mountain goats along the way.