Then the ancient quote about Emperor Hadrian continues, contrasting his sophistication with his love of physical fitness. “He was tall, elegant… and his thick beard hid the battle scars on his face. From robust stock, he loved horseback riding, walking, swordplay, and javelin throwing.” Even Hadrian’s love of physical fitness shows up in his Villa! The Pecile is one example. Sure, it got its name from the famous 5th century B.C. colonnade in Athens’ agora. And it was indeed a colonnade or covered walkway in its own right. But Hadrian’s Pecile served as an open-air track! How do we know? Near it, archeologists found a Latin inscription that stated, “the walk around the portico is 1450 feet.” Incredibly, 1450 ancient Roman feet equals 2 miles or 3 kilometers. So, Hadrian’s Pecile was a grandiose step counter!
Of course, with his Roman passion for physical fitness came a Greek obsession with spas. In fact, two spas (or baths) grace Hadran’s Villa. One of them, with its lofty columns, can be seen in the photo.