Housing and Homes of Ancient Rome

Latest Applications Open 2023:


Depending on their prosperity or poverty, the Romans lived in a broad array of houses. The poor resided in modest shacks in rural areas or crowded apartments in urban areas. The wealthy resided in expansive country mansions or private residences in the city.

Homes in the City

The majority of individuals in ancient Rome’s cities resided in insulae, which were apartments. Depending on their wealth, the wealthy resided in single-family houses known as domus that ranged in size.


In Roman cities, the great majority of residents resided in insulae, small apartment complexes. Typically three to five floors tall, insulae could accommodate between 30 and 50 people. Individual apartments typically had two compact rooms.

Shops and stores that opened out to the streets were frequently located on the lowest floor of the insulae. The biggest flats were at the bottom, followed by the tiniest. There were many insulae that were poorly built. They might be hazardous locations if they caught fire, and occasionally they might even collapse.

Private Homes

Large single-family residences known as domus were home to the rich aristocracy. Compared to the insulae, these dwellings were much finer. Roman homes typically had a similar layout and spaces. The house’s atrium, which served as the main entrance, was located there. Off to the sides of the atrium may be other rooms, including bedrooms, a dining room, and a kitchen. The office was located beyond the atrium. There was frequently an open garden in the back of the house.

Some of the rooms of a typical Roman home are listed below:

Vestibulum – The vestibulum is the home’s opulent foyer. Small shops with doors leading out to the street could be located in rooms on either side of the entrance hall.

Atrium – A welcoming atrium where visitors were welcomed. A small pool used to collect water and an open canopy were common features of the atrium.

Tablinum – The man of the house’s office or living space is called the tablinum.

Triclinium – Dining room in the triclinium. In order to impress visitors who were dining over, this was frequently the most spectacular and ornamented room of the house.

Cubiculum – The bedroom.

Culina – The dining area.

Residences in the Country

The wealthy lived in huge wide residences known as villas, while the poor and slaves lived in modest shacks or cottages in the countryside.

Roman-era home

A wealthy Roman family’s villa was frequently bigger and more luxurious than their apartment in the city. They included servants’ quarters, courtyards, bathrooms, swimming pools, storage rooms, workout rooms, and gardens among its numerous rooms. Additionally, they offered contemporary conveniences like heated flooring and indoor plumbing.

Interesting Information Regarding Ancient Rome’s Residences

The Latin term “insulae” means “islands.”

The ostium was the name for a Roman home’s entrance. The door and the doorway were included.

Stone, plaster, and brick were used to construct elegant Roman homes. Their roofs were tiled.

A “villa ubana” was a villa that was easily accessible and located close to Rome. A villa that was remote from Rome and only occasionally visited was referred to as a “villa rustica”.

Rich Romans adorned their dwellings with mosaic tile work, murals, paintings, and sculptures.

You cannot copy content of this page