Marina De Franceschini
studied and graduated at the University of Genoa
(Italy) with prof. Gioia De Luca; the thesis studied architectural
complex dedicated to the Roman Imperial Cult. She obtained a Master of
Arts at Bryn Mawr College (Pennsylvania, USA) with professors Brunilde
Sismondo Ridgway and Gloria Ferrari Pinney, with a thesis on the mosaics
of Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli. She then attended the School of
Specialization in Archaeology at Pisa with professor Andrea Carandini.
thesis for the Master of Arts was the starting point of her research
work on Roman villas. After a long study only on books, when she
actually saw Hadrian’s Villa became aware of the fundamental importance
of fieldwork and surveys on the spot. The thesis was originally focused
only on mosaics, and was enlarged to include architecture of the
buildings, applying for the first time in the imperial villa the
principles of archaeometry: room by room catalogue entries. This
extensive research and documentation work was awarded the Erma di
Bretschneider Prize, with the publication of the book Villa Adriana,
Mosaici, Pavimenti, edifici (1991) from which comes in part the
information provided on her website. The book collects previous
antiquarian information, publishing mosaics and opus sectile floors
(previously unpublished). It gives a new interpretation of Hadrian’s
Villa, and still is a basic text for the study of the complex.
She later studied other Roman villas in the italian regions of Veneto and Lazio, publishing two volumes:
Romane della X Regio Venetia et Histria (1998), where the villas are
set in their historical and geographical context made of cities, roads,
ports, rivers, centuriation and agricultural production.
dell’Agro Romano (2005), in cooperation with the Superintendency of the
City of Rome and professor Eugenio La Rocca. A catalogue of one hundred
villas in the Ager surrounding Rome, which reconstructs their typology
and evolution over the centuries.
In 2002 she worked with the
University of Trento and professor Mariette de Vos in a project for the
survey and study of the Palestra at Villa Adriana.
Since 2005 Marina
De Franceschini created and directed Progetto Accademia - Accademia
Project, a pilot project to study and survey one of the lesser-known
buildings of Villa Adriana: the Accademia. In 2006 was listed among the
100 Endangered Sites of the World Monuments Fund. The results of the
Project have been published in a series of articles and in two volumes:
Adriana. Architettura Celeste. I segreti dei Solstizi (2011),
illustrating the discovery of the astronomical orientation of the
Accademia and of Roccabruna at Villa Adriana, and the special light
effects that were taking place there.
Villa Adriana. Accademia.
Hadrian's Secret Garden (Pisa-Rome 2016), a comprehensive history of the
excavations and studies from the fifteenth to the seventeenth
centuries, focused on the Accademia and also on Villa Adriana; the first
in English language, with new and unpublished photographs and plants.
Forthcoming is a secondo volume on the history of studies and
excavations from the eighteenth century onwards.
With Professor Jørgen Hansen she is now investigating the aqueducts and subterranean road network of Villa Adriana.
See her website: www.villa-adriana.net