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Museu Nacional Arqueològic de Tarragona

Urban villas

view of the room devoted to the urban villas of Tarraco.

view of the room devoted to the urban villas of Tarraco.

For Roman society, the concept of villa was synonymous with happiness, a life of luxury free from everyday concerns. The large-scale villas, whose most characteristic element was the inclusion of gardens and parks on their grounds, were decorated with all types of statues. This sumptuous setting was reserved only for a privileged few. Those who had achieved a certain level of prosperity aspired to share the luxuries enjoyed by the patricians and imitated the latter’s urban homes and villas. The architectural elements were reproduced on a smaller scale, so the sculptures had to adapt to the available space.

Home decors were fairly homogeneous and the same Greek prototypes were reproduced to adorn the home. We note a certain predilection for certain themes: Apollo, Venus, Diana, nymphs and especially Bacchus and his entourage.

Several domus have been located in Tarragona, some of which are considerably luxurious. Particularly important are the discoveries made on the site once occupied by the port district of Tarraco. None of these domus may be visited. In this room, however, we may contemplate some of the sculptures and mosaics that decorated them.

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