Major discovery at Hadrian's Villa

Five monumental buildings have been unearthed at Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, located 30km north-east of Rome. Archaeologists came across the complex of buildings, surrounded by large statues, in an area previously regarded as being of little interest.

The discovery was made by researchers from Rome's La Sapienza University, and fullscale excavation work is scheduled for September. The excavation director Adalberto Ottati said: “What’s been found is just the tip of the iceberg because these structures have never been documented before not even by scholars such as [Giovanni Battista] Piranesi who studied the ancients.”

In addition to the buildings, researchers discovered hundreds of marble fragments that comprise a colossal statue, possibly a representation of Hadrian's wife, Empress Vibia Sabina.

It is believed that the buildings were designed as part of an idealised landscape garden by Emperor Hadrian whose villa was constructed between 38 AD and 118 AD.