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VARIA (mod. Vicovaro), an ancient village of Latium, Italy, in the valley of the Anio, on its right bank, and on the Via Valeria, 8 m. N.E. of Tibur (Tivoli). It was probably an independent town and not within the territory of Tibur, and Horace speaks of it as Sabine. Some remains of its walls, in rectangular blocks of travertine, still exist. One mile to the east is a picturesque gorge of the Anio, in which may be seen remains of the ancient aqueducts which supplied Rome, consisting partly of rock-cut channels and partly of ruined bridges: above it is the monastery of S Cosimato. Close to this point begins the valley of the Digentia (mod. Licenza) in which Horace's Sabine farm was situated. On the hill at the east of the entrance is the village of Cantalupo or Bardella, which has now assumed the name of Mandela, being identified thus (correctly) with Horace's “rugosus frigore pagus” (Epist. i. 18, 104). An inscription of the Christian period, found at S Cosimato, speaks of the Massa Mandelana (Corp. Inscr. Lat. xiv. 3482). About 3 m. up the valley, close to the road on the west (right) bank of the stream, are traces of a Roman dwelling-house in opus reticulatum with remains of two mosaic pavements; this is generally identified with the villa of Horace, and probably corresponds fairly closely with its site. That the Fons Bandusiae was near the Sabine farm is not a necessary inference from Od. iii. 13, in which alone it is mentioned; though the scholiasts state it; indeed a fountain of this name near Venusia is mentioned in a bull of 1103. On the other hand, that there was an abundant fountain near the Sabine farm is clear from Epist. i. 16. 12, and Sat. ii. 6. 2. It is generally identified with the Fonte dei Ratini, but the spring of Vigna la Corte, a little farther north, is still more plentiful. Some have supposed that the site of the villa was higher up the hillside, above Rocca Giovane. For Horace speaks of having written Epist. i. 10 “post fanum putre Vacunae,” and an inscription recording a temple of Victoria restored by Vespasian was copied at Rocca Giovane in the 16th century (Corp. Inscr. Lat. xiv. 3485). The identification of Victoria with the Sabine goddess Vacuna is not, however, absolutely certain: and there is here, as elsewhere in Roman literature, a play on the connexion of the name with vacare, “to take a holiday.” In any case, the site of the Sabine farm can be approximately, if not exactly, fixed as in the neighbourhood of Rocca Giovane.

See T. Berti, La Villa di Orazio (Rome, 1886); G. Boissier, Nouvelles promenades archéologiques (Paris, 1886).

(T. As.)