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That which makes a “villa” has evolved over the years. Originally used to describe a high-end home fully furnished with amenities and luxury, several modern day structures are loosely called as villas nowadays, from humble abodes to huge vacation houses.

The villa was originally an upper class Roman house, often built as country retreat homes especially whenever the summer heat became unbearable. The villa is composed of the main central building surrounded by smaller structures like storehouses, stables and recreational areas. They were meant to be self sufficient, equipped with back then luxurious amenities like water supply and central heating and were surrounded by beautiful gardens and ornaments. And even back then, there were different kinds of Roman villas, mainly:

  • Villa urbana: Country villas that are near the city so that primary villa dwellers can easily reach urban life.
  • Villa rustica: Mainly a farming estate. While the owners sometimes use the central structure for vacations, the villa is mainly run by the servants who tend to the fields.
  • Villa marittima: Seaside vacation homes located in the coast.

Today, there are very few Roman villas standing today, and even fewer are those that stand relatively intact. Instead, what is more common today is the influence of villa living in European style and culture. Different nationalities have adopted the villa concept and added their own flairs to it.

Nowadays, villas usually refer to vacation houses either owned or for rent though sometimes the term’s meaning depends on where you’re using it.Here are some of the popular villa styles that are still in use today:

  • Italian Villas: Italians started building their own villas in the 14th Century, characterized by an irregular rooflines and a prominent tower located usually at the middle called a campanile. Substructures for these villas include the Gananoque, the Woodstock and the Cobourg villas.
  • French Villas: The French started taking in the villa concept around the 18th Century, and have built varying styles of the structure in accordance to size. One of the most popular examples of the French villa is the Ch√Ęteau, a manor often used as retreats by French noblemen.
  • Modern Villas: Even modern architecture has made its own offering of villas. They are usually large structures characterized by bold lines and geometric designs.


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