Vespasian's villa? Don't you believe it
As usual a combination of fantasy and wishful thinking has driven this non-story. Even the excavator, Filippo Coarelli, who 'has form' with a whole series of over-optimistic 'identifications', admits that there isn't exactly any evidence for this. It's just a large Roman house of roughly the right date in roughly the right place.
The talk among British and US archaeologists in Rome (where I have come to say goodbye to Andrew Wallace--Hadrill who is leaving the British School at Rome) is rueful. After all the 'advances' in archaeology, and what it can tell us about the ancient world, are we still looking for a 'Vespasian lived here' spot?
There was of course much other gossip -- which I am under ban of reporting. As if I would. Wallace Hadrill by the way is coming to be il capo of Sidney Sussex in Cambridge, while Jo W-H will become a colleague of mine at Newnham. So instead of gossip, here is a blurry picture.