Ancient Roman Villa in Fact a Mansion

ROME, Aug. 27 (UPI) — Italian archaeologists uncovering what they thought was a typical Roman villa say it’s much more, calling the complex covering a full block a majestic mansion.

Researchers say the house, or domus, was the largest building in the ancient Roman city of Aquileia and was probably the residence of a powerful figure, perhaps an imperial official, ANSA reported.

Scientists “upgraded” their assessment after uncovering lavish decorations and imposing architectural features revealing the extent of its inhabitant’s status, they said.

“During the latest excavations we have found the eastern entrance to the home,” lead archaeologist Federica Fontana explained. “This was preceded by a large, paved piazza with a well in it.”

“We have also found a room, at the same level as the entrance way, which had underground heating and a floor decorated with an exquisite multicolored mosaic,” she said.

“All these elements make it clear just how important this domus was in Aquileia,” Fontana said.

Much of Aquileia, once one of the largest and wealthiest cities of the early Roman empire, is yet to be excavated. The city is believed to have been founded about 180 B.C.

UNESCO added the site to its World Heritage List in 1998, citing the fact that most of ancient Aquileia survives intact underground, making it the most complete example of an early Roman city in the Mediterranean world.

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