A villa was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity,...
that was built or lived in during the Roman republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...
and the Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....
. A villa was originally a Roman
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...
country house built for the upper class. According to Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...
, there were two kinds of villas: the villa urbana, which was a country seat that could easily be reached from Rome (or another city) for a night or two, and the Villa rustica
Villa rustica was the term used by the ancient Romans to denote a villa set in the open countryside, often as the hub of a large agricultural estate . The adjective rusticum was used to distinguish it from an urban or resort villa...
, the farm-house estate permanently occupied by the servants who had charge generally of the estate.