About Rio Verde Roman Villa
The Rio Verde Roman Villa (Villa Romana de Rio Verde) was a first to second century AD Roman home and villa complex in Marbella, Spain.
Today, the highlight of a visit to the Rio Verde Roman Villa are the impressive Roman mosaics, which depict mostly culinary and religious imagery. These mosaics are comprised of intricate patterns of black and white tiles and have survived in truly excellent condition.
History of Rio Verde Roman Villa
The Rio Verde Roman Villa was once part of the great Roman city of Cilniana. Today, the remains of a late 1st century AD Roman villa is all that has been left behind, but the famous and intricate mosaic floors make the site a monument in its own right.
The site was discovered in 1961 by Carlos Posac Mon and Fernando Alcala. At the time, the area was not built upon, and in 1960 the archaeologists had explored and found Roman ceramics and coins nearby.
They returned the next year to find more artefacts, and on the last day of excavations, the Marbella Council works department were digging a trench and uncovered the mosaics.
Until 2009, the site was completely open to the elements, with the public being allowed to access the site and walk across the mosaics by simply asking for a key at the tourist office.
The mosaics are famous for their unique design: rather than presenting classical themes, these mosaics display a bizarre collection of kitchen utensils, shoes, a stove, and tables filled with meat and fish.
Archaeologists have also found a small fragment of a marble statue, an earthenware wine jug, and an ornate cup.
Rio Verde Roman Villa Today
Today, the Villa is under a canopy, and is free for visitors to explore between 10.30 and 13.30 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Objects found at the site during the archaeological excavation have been moved to the Malaga Museum, which is reachable in under an hour by car, and in around an hour and a half by bus.
Getting to Rio Verde Roman Villa
The Rio Verde site is situated to the west of Marbella and is a pleasant 1km walk from Puerto Banus, next to the Río Verde and a short walk from Playa Rio Verde. From the centre of Marbella, the villa is a 13 minute drive via the N-340. It can also be reached by buses – the 1, L-78, L-79 – that depart every 7 minutes or so from the centre of Marbella.