Ajuntament IgualadaAjuntament ÒdenaDiputació Barcelona

The Villa

L’Espelt Roman Villa is an archaeological site with the remains of a farm, largely dating from the 2nd century AD. Several excavations have unearthed the main buildings, paintings and mosaics and large numbers of objects belonging to Roman culture which are now conserved in the Igualada Leather Museum and Anoia County Museum. It is the most outstanding, best-known Roman villa in the Anoia area.

Its is an elongated structure running from east to west. The layout is typical of a Roman villa or farm, i.e. one part with the owner and his family’s home (the pars urbana in Latin) and the other with the tenant’s home, stables and yards, granaries and stores, water tanks, presses, cereal and olive oil mills and so on (the pars rustica).

A single entrance door on the main frontage led into the fauces [1], a corridor decorated with wall paintings.

On the left were the two finest rooms in the house, also richly decorated with wall paintings and mosaics on the floor.

The oecus [2] was the room where the owner welcomed visitors and dealt with the economic business of the villa. This painstakingly decorated room was served to show off the owner’s status to all visitors from outside.

The triclinium [3] was the family’s private dining room. Reclining on 3 couches around a table, the family and their guests would have supper, the most important meal of the day.

Like most villas, Espelt faced south and was laid out around an open patio or atrium [4] which gave access to the different rooms.

3 bedrooms (cubiculae) [5] were on the north side of this patio. They had no windows and always had to be lit by artificial light.

On the east side of the atrium was the kitchen (culina) [6], which had an outside fireplace and a smaller indoor one for finishing off cooking over embers. This room had a way out to the vegetable garden and a store room [7] next to it. There are also small store rooms on the west side of the villa.

Water channels [8] and a tank [9] provided the house with a water supply all year round.

Wealthy Romans’ houses had a balneum, a very typical area intended not only for personal hygiene but also for leisure and social life. L’Espelt Roman Villa had a natatio or pool [10] in one of the biggest rooms. This was entered from the cold room, or frigidarium [10], which also had a small pool or alveus.

Next came the warmer rooms: the tepidarium [11] and the caldarium [12]. The latter, which could reach temperatures of up to 50º, was heated by circulating hot air. Small pillars to create a chamber under the floor, double walls and an outside oven are the essential features of this system, known as a hypocauston [12], which was used both in private homes and in large public baths.

During the 4th and 5th centuries, at a time when the villa increased its agricultural output, this bath area was converted into a place to press grapes.

Late 2nd century BC and mid 1st century BC Republican Roman precedents
 Last quarter of the 1st century AD, early Roman empire Foundation of the villa
 Between 230 and 250 the villa at its peak (3rd century AD)
At some point in the 4th century AD the villa was abandoned

Multimedia

The Òdena valley in Roman times

L’Espelt Roman Villa lies in the Òdena valley, on a plain covering about 100 square kilometres and surrounded by the Rubió massif (N), Puig d’Aguilera (NE), the peak of Els Tres Mollons (E), the Collbàs massif (SE), Tossa de Montbui (SW) and Pla de la Massa (NW).

The remains of two other villas have been found in this area: that of Pla de la Torra, near Santa Margarida de Montbui, and that of Vilar del Met, near Vilanova del Camí así como numerosos asentamientos menores directamente relacionados con la explotación agraria: silos, cabañas, establecimientos dedicados a la metalurgia y a la cerámica, y hornos, entre otros.

The Anoia area was connected to the extensive Roman road network by a secondary route running from Barcelona via Martorell to Lleida and Saragossa. The local network of routes that fed this road converged right in the middle of the Òdena valley, at the ford over the river Anoia. This may already have been a market place in Iberian times, and in later centuries it was where the town of Igualada sprang up.

The building of the villas and secondary sites was part of the Roman colonisation of the territory in order to produce large surpluses for export to the towns on the Catalan coast.
The star products were cereal, wine and oil. To allow intensive farming, the land was divided into centuries. This was the so-called centuriation (1 century = approximately 50 hectares), which in the Òdena valley centred on the above-mentioned villas and probably an unknown fourth one which must have been close to the modern-day village of Jorba.

SIGARRA

All estates looked to an urban centre. In the Anoia area this was certainly ancient Sigarra, modern-day Prats de Rei, the rich remains of which have been found under the ground. Iberian śigaŕa was an important political and economic centre. Under the implacable Roman domination, while other places were destroyed or abandoned, Sigarra grew to become a Roman town. Its stability throughout Roman rule, until the end of the Empire, is one explanation for the splendour of the villa of L’Espelt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, as well as the rebuilding of much of the home in the 4th and 5th centuries, with the installation of a grape press.

Localización

Visit

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We invite you to enjoy the site in a self-guided
visit, following the route laid out around the
remains. You must not walk about the inside of the
site or on the walls.
A respectful attitude helps to
preserve the site and makes the visit an
enjoyable experience.

L’Espelt Roman Villa (Òdena) was declared a Cultural asset of national interest / Archaeological zone in July 2015 by the Catalan government’s department of culture.

There was an Ibero-Roman settlement here (2nd-1st centuries BC), and the villa was built in the first third of the 1st century AD.  It was abandoned in the 6th century AD and was buried for centuries under farmland.

Whether you come on foot or by car from the locality of L’Espelt, you will find the routes to the villa marked. It is easy to visit, but is not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs. We invite you to enjoy the site on a self-guided visit, following the route laid out around the remains. You must not walk round inside the site or climb on the walls.

A responsible attitude helps to preserve the site and make your visit a pleasant experience.

The village of Òdena offers a range of possibilities to discover its history, nature and gastronomy. It is a municipality made up of villages, hamlets and isolated houses, all surrounded by vineyards, farmland and woods. A landscape overlooked by the mountain of Puig Aguilera which makes Òdena an ideal natural setting for country holidays, adventure sports and walking. Its attractions include the landscape itself, the natural setting and rural life. But there are also architectural point of interest like the chapels of Sant Miquel, Sant Bernabé and Sant Sebastià, L’Espelt Roman Villa and the Torre del Castell.

Another place of interest is the aerodrome of Igualada-Òdena, which hosts the Aerosport fair in May, and the Fira de La Vinyala in September and the Fira dels Torrons in January are attractions for visitors and lovers of fine food and wine.

CASTELL-D-ODENA
One of the attractions of Òdena is its castle, which is on the Anoia Terra de Castells route.

rutes-pel-territori

The landscape and country paths in the area are particularly picturesque.

Cal-Pessetero

There are 10 trees listed as being of local interest to see.

Llocsd-interes

Other places of interest to visitors to Òdena.

Patrimoni-cultural

Map of cultural and natural heritage in the municipality

 

Para concertar visitas ponganse en contacto con el Museo de la Piel de Igualada y Comarcal de l’Anoia:
Correo: m.igualada@diba.cat
Teléfono: +34 938 046 752

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