Roman tombstone in the church in Šmihel and Villa rustica
An exceptional tombstone to the Roman soldier Vibi, who had received the Villa rustica for his actions and lived there, was moved to the parish church of St. Michael in the settlement of Šmihel near Žužemberk, thanks to the parish priest Alojz Zupanc. In front of the church, there is a memorial park dedicated to the parish priest Zupanc. Today, the church is a pseudo-Gothic building from 1908, which succeeded an older church mentioned in 1136. It consists of a rectangular nave, a polygonal presbytery and a bell tower. The aforementioned antique tombstone is built under the chancel.
In ancient Rome, contrary to today’s architectural meaning, the word villa did not mean a beautiful house, but an estate with a residential house. A rustic (rural, roughly made, simple) house – villa rustica, was an estate with a farmhouse and separate outbuildings.
Villa rustica was a farmhouse of up to 20 hectares in size from the Roman period. Its characteristic was that it was market-oriented and used slave labour. These estates were the economic foundations of the Roman political elite. The buildings were designed in such a way that the living quarters for the owner and his family were clearly separated from the work areas and the quarters for the labour force (slaves). In Slovenia, archaeologists have already discovered about two hundred remains of such rustic villas.
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The management authority tasked for implementation of the Rural Development programme of the Republic of Slovenia 2014-2020 is Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food.