Aldeias Históricas de Portugal

Villages

Roman atrium house

Idanha-a-Velha

Idanha-a-Velha

A modern concrete structure protects a narrow portion of a roman house excavated at the time of construction on the Epigraphic Archive. These are the ruins of an urban villa (domus) belonging to a family of high economic and social status. The house was built at the end of the 1st century A.D., but came to an end when the wall was built. The visible portion is part of the atrium (atrium), a covered patio, flanked by two sections (alae) separated by a corridor. The atrium had an opening (compluvium) that allowed light to enter and for rainwater to be collected in a tank (impluvium), with columns in the corners to support the framing of the roof. In this type of construction, the atrium was the centre of domestic life, but was also a reception area, specifically in the patronage relationships of the head of household with his clients.