1. The mosaic of San Lorenzo and the Roman mosaics of Vicenza

The cloister holds a fragment of a mosaic of white tiles edged by black bands that dates back to the 1st century BC. Mosaics created with marble, stone and glass tiles were characteristic of many Roman buildings in Vicetia and the entire X Regio from the 1st century BC throughout the imperial age. The floors of rich private homes – the connective tissue of the ancient city – were often built from simple monochromatic white tessellations, as seen in the domus under the Cathedral, but could also be found in two-tone versions as in the Cryptoporticus of piazza Duomo. The latter were sometimes framed with strips of black tiles, as in the case of the mosaic of San Lorenzo and another found in the area beneath the Cathedral.
More complex geometric patterns made of black and white tiles adorned the ancient residences discovered, for example, in the area surrounding the Giardino del Vescovado, palazzo Cordellina and between contra’ Pedemuro San Biagio and stradella degli Stalli. These floorings, however, do not date back any earlier than the 2nd century AD.
The only coloured figurative mosaic, with undula-ting patterns and five emblemata depicting hunting scenes, originates from piazza Biada and is conserved in the Archaeological Museum. It was probably part of a rich home from 4th-5th century AD Vicenza. The mosaic portrays a number of mythical hunting scenes, the most well-preserved being that of Meleager and the boar, one of the four scenes featured in the corners of the central emblem with the duel between Bellerophon and the Chimera.

Coloured floor mosaic with hunting scene from piazza Biade (Archive of the Vicenza Natural history and Archaelogical Museum)

Coloured floor mosaic with hunting scene from piazza Biade (Archive of the Vicenza Natural history and Archaelogical Museum)

Floor mosaic with white and back tiles from S. Lorenzo (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)

Floor mosaic with white and back tiles from S. Lorenzo (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)