Varignano Roman Villa is an ancient Roman residence in Varignano, now a frazione of the town of Porto Venere. Its site is marked by an archaeological museum.
Its first construction phase dates to the 1st century BCE and it mainly consisted of a house surrounded by a farm linked to olive oil production. The site is beside the Seno del Varignano Vecchio, overlooking the sea, near the santuario delle Grazie and, to the north-east, the Fortezza del Varignano.
Its main area - the pars urbana - and the productive area - the pars fructuaria - were separated by a courtyard used for 'torcularium' or pressing olives for their oil. The owner's residence was single-storey with atria paved with mosaics, living rooms and bedrooms. Its olive oil processing area contained two presses and a 'cella oleario' were active until the 1st century AD. At that period olive oil production shut down and the vilicus underwent a major rebuild, with the construction of a set of heated rooms and private frigidaria, whose cistern is considered as almost unique among similar buildings in northern Italy. This residence was then active until the 6th century.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.