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Villae Maritimae

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Chapter Summary

The villa maritima appears as a symbol of extravagance, even debauchery, in contrast to the villa rustica, which, with its involvement in agriculture, is represented as an appropriate economic enterprise for a member of the elite. In particular, this opposition is organically conceptualized in Varro's De Re Rustica. The value of maritime villas as economic enterprises as well as leisure retreats undoubtedly increased their appeal, which helps to explain their proliferation along the coasts of Italy and the provinces. The association between maritime villas and the display of luxury and wealth appears early in the sources, at about the same time as the proliferation of the villas themselves. This chapter offers an outline of recurrent architectural features of maritime villa sites, before passing on to the analysis of maritime villas as economic enterprises. It offers a synthetic overview of the salient architectural features of maritime villas.

Keywords: architectural features economic enterprises; Italy; villa maritima; villa rustica



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