It is the largest of the Capri imperial villas and the one that, because of its peculiar location.its massive structure as a citadel commanding the deep and narrow straits of the "Bocche di Capri" From the high crags of the eastern promontory, expresses a will to power and a need for defense and not only the wish for repose and a relaxed mode of living. It is also by excellence the villa of Tiberius, not only because ittt expresses Tiberius'gloomy and Irecluse character, his bitter relish for solitude, and his detachment from all ordinary contacts with men, but also because it received the emperor in the most dramatic moments of his voluntary exile and shared with him the tragic hours of his betrayal and of his relentless firmness in defending himself and empire.
The whole summit of the mountain is occupied by the central body of the villa and its depending accessories; the uncovered structures occupy an area of over 7000 sq.m.,but the actual extent of the villa comprising woods, gardens, and nymphaea, resting exedrae and rocky paths, and which no doubt possessed a zone of protection and safeguard, must have been much greater.
The rocky, steep and uneven nature of the mountain forced the builder to group together the body of the structures and to take advantage of the different levels of the ground in order to obtain by successive terraces an upward extension that could not be secured on the level. In the centre of the main nucleus there are four large intercomminicating cisterns dug into the rock and covered by vaults to collect rainwater.
The various lodgings are laid out all around: to the North the imperial lodgings are laid out all around: to the west the servant's quarters and facilities ; to the South the baths area and to the east the great apsed hall. At the eastern extremity the "great ambulatio" spread outwards towards an l"exedra" overlooking the entire Gulf of Naples, the Sorrento Peninsula, and the Amalfi Coastline.
The main buildings of the Palace comprise a vast square in the middle of which are four large cisterns deeply scooped out of the rock,each of them was subdivided into two or four communicating compartments, and was covered by a voult; the voults are now crumbled for the most part, but they were originally intended to collect the rain water falling on their upper side and on the surrounding roofs. It was a necessary device to render life possible in a building erected on the top of a mountain and having no other possibility to secure a supply of water, of the area of the domus to provide for this essential need.
Furthermore, by placing the cisterns in the centre of the building, the architect was giving the water supply an actually vital function in the body of the Villa.Weichardt was therefore wrong in his reconstrution when he placed the emperor's residential quarters on top of the vaulted cisterns: for, a apart from the fact that no remeins of buildings are to be found above the cisterns, it is necessary to allow the central nucleus of the Palace its simplest, but most important function as a collecting surface for rein water, as the original architect did. Thus the several qurters of the Villa appear to be naturally and rationally arranged around the central square of the cisterns; and keeping to rectangular pattern, they extend towards to the east whit a semi-circular structure which leans against the rocks and is lenghtened out towards the north into a large terrace intended for walks and sightseeing.
Furthermore, the elevation of the building, the strong irregularities and the different levels of the rocky ground and the particular requirements of an imperial residence, of an emperor, moreover ,gloomy and recluse as Tiberius was, all these considerations forced the architect: to pay particular attention to the planning of the internal communications between the several parts of the building, keeping the service stairs, corridors and passages separate from those reserved to the emperor and his retinue. The position of the buildings with respect to these huge reservoirs also depended onthe rational exploitation of the water supply - a result which couln not be archieved following the plantipically used in the construction of Roman seaside villas.
Thus the atrium with four marble columns lies on the southern side along side the baths. Modest on the ground floor, the baths become more grandiose on the upper floor where the typical division into apodyiterium, (changing room) tepidarium ( room heated to medium temperature), calidarium (heated room) and praefurnium (room with heater) can still be seen, despite the fact that the decorations and even the suspensurae which served to support the floor and allow the passage of hot air have been destroyyed.
The kitchen is also situed on this side of the villa ,detached from the main body of the building The villa was built of limestone cement alternated with rows of tiles for pratical and functional reason - limestone was abundantly available following the levelling of the rocky terraces while the technique was perfect for the construction of thick walls able to support the weight of the upper levels.

How to reach
From Piazza Umberto I, take Via Le Botteghe, Via Fuorlovado, Via Croce and Via Tiberio, or, once again starting in Piazza Umberto I, take Via Longano, Via Sopramonte and Via Tiberio (45 mins.).

Opening time
10.00-19.00 (last entry 18.15)
Open every day

October: 10.00-18.00 (last entry 17.15)

Entry: Euro 6,00

Free entry for visitors under the age of 18 from EEC countries.
Visitors aged between 18 and 25 from EEC countries pay half-price.
Free entrance on the first Sunday of the month