Roman Villa Urbana in Longuich, Mosel

August 27, 2012

Vineyards near Longuich – Opposite the steep slopes of the Mosel

The cultivation of grapes along the Mosel river and its tributaries Saar and Ruwer is more than 2,000 years old. For the Romans wine was an important commodity. All along the Mosel river one can find traces of the Roman wine industry, among them wine presses and fermentation tanks, vineyard implements, residues of grapes, statues of gods and godesses etc.

Among the treasures are the ruins and foundations of many Roman rural villas. One of them can be found in Longuich-Kirsch, just a few kilometers downstream from my hometown Trier. Various types of these villas can be distinguished. Some of them contain large mosaics as the villa in Nennig.

The villa in Longuich is a “villa urbana”, the seat of a retired high official. It is very large (110 x 28 meters). It was built in the 2nd century after Christ and includes an extensive Roman bath consisting of a Caldarium (hot bath), Tepidarium (warm bath), Sudatorium (sauna), Frigidarium (cold bath) and Praefurnium (fire and heating system).

The foundations of the villa were accidentally discovered during land consolidation and reconstruction work in 1984. Next to the villa some agricultural buildings we found as well.

The villa urbana was restored and is today open to the public. Various billboards inform the casual visitor about various aspects of roman life including the two thousand years of grape and wine production.

Imagine that so long ago people were working in vineyards and wineries in the very same places where also todays wine is produced. Amazing. The work was even harder than today, I guess.

The production techniques of the Romans are well researched. The billbords explain todays challenges and how they were mastered recently. I loved the way ancient history was linked to contemporary modern life. I highly recommend visiting these villas. The view over the valley and its vineyards is another great experience.

Fortunately, the vineyards in the vicinity of the villa are still productive, and many wineries and vintners are happy to welcome visitors and introduce them to their excellent Riesling wines.