Domus Romana

Rabat, Malta

The small museum of the Domus Romana is built around the remains of a rich, aristocratic roman town house (domus) which was accidentally discovered in 1881. Although very little remains from the house itself, the intricate mosaics which survived for centuries as well as the artefacts found within the remains are testimony enough of the original richness and story of this fantastic abode.

The building housing the remains of the domus was partly built immediately after the first excavation to protect the uncovered mosaics. Most of the Roman artefacts and antiquities, including the few remaining marble pieces scattered in the streets of Mdina were transferred to this museum, which was officially opened to the public in February 1882. Throughout the years the Museum continued to hold Roman material and it soon became an open storage space for all the Roman artefacts found around the Island.

The current Museum building does not only preserve some of the most precious Roman remains but also allows visitors to get a glimpse of life in a Roman domestic household. Apart from showing the complex history of the site, the current museum display is in fact designed to take the visitor through the various aspects of a Roman family and household with aspects ranging from the actual division of roles in a Roman family, to fashion, education, entertainment, food and drink.

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Address

Wesgha tal-Muzew, Rabat, Malta
See all sites in Rabat

Details

Founded: c. 75 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Malta

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Edy (10 months ago)
The villa belonged to Antonia Claudia, the daughter of the Roman emperor Claudiu. The richest house in Malta,in its glory days. Photos of various decorative roman objects, mosaics, pottery and descriptions of how a Roman house like this was organised. For some reason they've requested me to pay by card (which was no problem) but still a surprise since you can and are expected to pay with cash everywhere in Malta. Not too many exhibits but still interesting for those passionate by history.
Ian Scales (12 months ago)
Domvs Romana (Roman House). This Roman villa was owned by a rich family in the 1st to 2nd century BC, its mosaic floors were accidentally discovered in 1881 whilst tree planting in Howard Gardens, with excavations being carried out between 1920 and 1924. It is thought its wealthy owners were of a high social status as they had two marble statues of the Royal Emporer Claudius' family, maybe he was the island's Governor? A museum of artefacts found around the villa and surrounding area were exhibited in a museum, opened on the site in 1882 and it now houses other pieces from the Roman period found elsewhere on the island. The villa had fallen into ruins over the years, but luckily with the mosaics being covered they have survived quite intact. Limestone columns and a cornice have been found, which would have been part of the grand villa's internal structure. Unfortunately some ruins were destroyed by the British in 1899 when they cut a road through to the Museum railway station, with no records kept of any discoveries they made during the works, sadly lost forever.
Harry's Wanderlust (2 years ago)
Definitely a must-see archeological spot in Mdina/Rabat. The mosaics are partly amazingly restored and the given information on this roman archeological site are very good. I would wish there would still be done more reconstruction on the outside area, but nevertheless this is a beautiful spot to visit! Don't miss it!
Edson Bittencourt Imperico (2 years ago)
A very roman experience within a citadel charged with history. Very well preserved mosaics. Roman household life is very well explained here.
Beth K (3 years ago)
Not much to see in comparison to other sites around Malta. The ruins can be viewed, but not walked in. Worth going if you have a Heritage Multipass, but I wouldn't have paid individually for it.
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