The Roman Villa
The Romans took over the way of building houses from the Etruscans. The living and working rooms were built round a partly covered, and mostly large inner courtyard, the atrium. On the street side of the building there was usually a workshop or a shop.
The Roman villa formed as it were the smallest part of the Roman life-style. Simple country houses or town villas with lavish furnishings were however only owned by noble Roman families of which the servants and slaves were also part, and whose head was the pater familias. From the street a corridor let into the atrium, where the house altar was also situated.
The roofs slanted towards the interior and let a square free for the rain-water to run down (compluvium), which collected in a basin in the centre (impluvium). The house altar and the fire dedicated to the goddess Vesta were in the atrium, as well as a case containing the wax masks of the ancestors and it was mostly situated in a side wing of the atrium. The family bedrooms usually had wooden floors, whereas the function rooms, dining room and guest rooms had floors covered with mosaics. Through a double door one reached the back of the house. From here a corridor led to a garden-like columned hall (peristyl) or a garden.