A French count and his English wife live quietly and contentedly in a famous villa in Italy that has known one hundred generations of residents.
GV Waterfall from window of villa Sant Antonio at Tivoli, Italy
GV Through entrance to villa
CU Figures carved on old wall PULL OUT TO Show length of wall
GV Diagonal brickwork TILT DOWN TO Olive tree growing from all
SV Archways around villa (3 shots)
SV INTERIOR Doorway TILT DOWN TO Mosaic floor
SV TILT UP FROM Floor to dressing-table with vase
SV TILT UP FROM Broom TO Circular stone corn grinder, and grinder demonstrated (2 shots)
SV TILT UP FROM Stove tops to diagonal brickwork
SV PAN ALONG Stoves TO Door TO Bread oven opened
SV PAN ALONG Dining room table TO Fire place (2 shots)
SV PAN FROM Countess Lucy Numa D'Ailhaud de Brisis in doorway ALONG Ancient vault walls (2 shots)
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Background: A French count and his English wife live quietly and contentedly in a famous villa in Italy that has known one hundred generations of residents. Called the Villa Sant Antonio, it is among the oldest inhabited dwellings in Europe.
SYNOPSIS: The villa perches on a terrace in a narrow gorge opposite the waterfalls of Tivoli, not far from Rome. For twenty centuries, the view has been lauded in print and on canvas. Scholars have identified it as the country residence of Horace, the brilliant lyric poet and satirist who lived under the emperor Augustus in the last generation before Christ.
The villa's history has been traced continuously since the time of Horace, and there's evidence it was associated with the early Christian movement. Through these connections, the villa developed into a Franciscan monastery with a church dedicated to Saint Anthony on its upper level.
The owner, Count Numa D'Ailhaud de Brisis, says that the entire second floor of the three-storey dwelling is criminal Roman, including the mosaic floor--the first thing his feet touch each morning. In its tie as a monastery, the villa lodged two popes, Pius the Second, and Gregory the Fourteenth.
The kitchen boasts a circular corn grinder, similar to pieces displayed in the ruins of the ancient Roman port of Ostia. It stands beneath a huge open chimney next to another original piece--the Rising above the oven is a bare patch of' opus reticulatum' the diagonal stone brickwork that is typical of Roman building techniques of the first century before Christ.
The countess prepares breakfasts on travertine marble slabs worn thin and uneven by twenty centuries of use. And slaves once baked bread inside this oven.
Countess Lucy de Brisis is the great grand-daughter of the villa's first English owner, Frederick Searle, who bought it is 1879. He's com to settle in Italy after working for many years in the Caribbean sugar trade.
The countess stands at the doorway of the nymphs on the ground floor. It is the best preserved and most important Roman structure in the building, and appears to have been converted into and early church, containing one of the earliest examples of a Roman vaulted ceiling.