The Verige Roman Villa is a villa rustica located in the bay of Verige off the coast of Istria, within Croatia’s Brijuni National Park. The Brijuni archipelago includes 14 small islands which are famous for their scenic beauty. In Roman times, numerous Roman villae rusticae adorned the coast of these islands referred to by Pliny the Elder as Insulae Pullariae. The construction of the villa began in the 1st century BC, reaching its heyday in the 1st century AD. Some parts of the villa were used until the 6th century.
Coordinates: 44°54’35.5″N 13°46’25.9″E
The fall of the Illyrian capital of Nesactium in the year 177 BC marked the onset of a long period of Roman rule which brought considerable economic, social and cultural changes to the entire Istrian peninsula, including the Brijuni Islands. The Roman navy found on the Brijuni Islands a safe and natural shelter. The Romans built many luxurious summer residences and palaces where they could relax and live from the products they produced.
The villa in the bay of Verige was owned by the senatorial Laecanii family and probably came under imperial ownership in the 2nd half of the 1st century AD. It is said to be among the three most luxurious villas in the Roman Empire alongside a Villa in Pompeii and another one on the island of Capri. The villa consisted of several buildings of residential and economic character situated in different parts of the bay. The whole complex covered an area of over six hectares. The villa also had a library, three level terraces and huge gardens.
Along with the luxurious villa, constituent parts of the complex also included three temples (to the sea god Neptune, the Capitoline Triad and the goddess Venus), and a palaestra. All these buildings were connected by a system of colonnaded promenades stretching one kilometre along the sea, in harmony with the landscape. On the opposite side of the bay were the other areas dedicated to production activities as well as the thermae.
This villa was lavishly decorated with mosaic floors and frescoes, stucco decoration and precious marble.