Domvs Romana is an interesting and quite rare example of a residential house once owned by a noble family in ancient Rome. The ruins and a small museum associated with them would be particularly interesting for those tourists who are fascinated by archaeology and history of the ancient world.
According to archaeologists, this house was built in the first century AD and served as a town residence for about a hundred years. It was located within the territory of Melite, known as an ancient Phoenician city, which became a Roman province two hundred years before the Common era. In fact, Domvs Romana means "roman townhouse", since in ancient Rome a wealthy upper-class house was called "domus". The house featured an open space of a courtyard or garden surrounded by a colonnade, which was typical for Greek and Roman residential and public buildings. It was decorated with elaborate mosaics, statues and colored wall plaster imitating marble veneering.
In the 11th century, when Malta was captured by the Arabs and became a part of the Fatimid Caliphate, the area around the ruins became a burial place, where tombstones with Arabic inscriptions and some other artifacts of Islamic origin were found later.
In the late 19th century, during landscaping workers stumbled across the ruins of the ancient building, and shortly afterwards the excavations started under the direction of reputable Maltese archaeologists and historians. They discovered mosaics, coins, amphorae and other ancient household items along with the remnants of building. A year on, an antiquity museum was opened on the site, designed to protect the ruins and at the same time hold the ancient artifacts found in Malta. At the beginning of the 20th century, the museum building was expanded and decorated with a beautiful neoclassic frontispiece, while after WWII the mosaics were restored.
During the XXI century the museum exposition was renovated several times and now it shows a wide variety of both Roman and Arab artifacts, illustrating the rich history of Malta and shedding light on the daily life of its population at different historic periods. The most interest is drawn to the well-preserved mosaic of peristyle, which is among the oldest in the Western Mediterranean, as well as by statues of the imperial Roman family and ancient columns.