Florence, Oct 21 Archaeologists have unearthed a luxurious ancient Roman villa complete with thermal baths and stunning mosaics near the central Italian city of Florence in what they described as an "exceptional" find.
"This is a completely exceptional building," said Federico Cantini, from the University of Pisa, who is leading the dig.
Such large and well preserved ancient Roman villas have only previously been found in Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, which Constantine the Great founded as the new capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD.
The sprawling aristocratic villa, located in a private property in the village of Capraia, has a hexagonal design with intact coloured mosaic floors including an oval mosaic with a wild boar hunting scene in its central reception room.
An inscribed slab of stone at the site refers to the villa's owner, fourth century AD pagan Roman senator Vettius Agorius Praetextatus, according to Cantini.
Praetextatus, who at the time of his death in 384 AD was praetorian prefect at the court of Emperor Valentinian II, completely refurbished the villa, which originally dates from the first century AD.
The villa was abandoned and plundered in the sixth century AD.