Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
It is significant that Marius is happiest when he is able to remove himself temporarily from the hubbub of Rome itself to the clean air, clear light, and serenity of the Alban and Sabine hills. Two locations are of particular significance: the house near Cicero’s “haunted” villa at Tusculum where, as a fellow guest of the emperor’s son Commodus, he watches a satire of Socrates by Lucian; and the secluded house of Cecilia, two miles outside the city, where he obtains his first intimations of the Christian faith. Cecilia’s villa is the only place whose architecture and garden, though only superficially different from his old home, seem to him symbolic of nascence rather than senility.
*Pisa. Italian city in which Marius attends school. Although somewhat decayed from its former splendor, it fills Marius with dreams of Rome. The school is an imitation of Plato’s Academy, with its own cypress grove; it is there that Marius meets Flavian and reads the “golden book” (Lucius Apuleius’s Metamorphoses, better known as The Golden Ass), whose interpolated tale of Cupid and Psyche, paraphrased in Walter Pater’s text, is a powerful influence on him. After watching the symbolic launching of the Ship of Isis from Pisa’s harbor, Flavian dies of the plague, prompting a new phase of Marius’s philosophical self-education.
White-nights. Pater’s version of the name of Marius’s boyhood home, to which he returns in the final chapter. It comprises a villa surrounded by farmland, whose extent has shrunk while the family’s fortunes have declined. The establishment is run-down, but it preserves a residual dignity appropriate to a kind of farming that was never more than an “elegant diversion.” The house lies well away from the road, on raised ground above a marsh. The main building is constructed of pink and yellow marble, now mellowed by age and encrusted with moss. The pavement of the hall is decorated with mosaics, and there are ancestral masks in cedar chests at each corner. An oval chamber contains artworks collected by its founder, Marcellus, including a famous head of Medusa. There is also a two-story prospect-tower topped by a pigeon-house. Its windows look out on the crags of Carrara and the coast, dominated by the lighthouse-temple of Venus Speciosa.
Temple of Aesculapius. Temple in the Etrurian Hills beyond the Arnus Valley, to which Marius is taken as a boy when he falls ill. The temple provides facilities for patients to sleep, so that the priests may deduce the causes of their illness and appropriate treatments from the imagery of their dreams–although its clear air and pure water supply must have been its primary curative agents. Its garden is flanked by the Houses of Birth and Death, set apart for the use of mothers-to-be and the dying.