Roman villa benefits from employment scheme

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EXTENSION: Alfaz mayor Vicente Arques (foreground) visits planned extension.

VISITORS can soon explore more of the Roman villa on the seafront in Albir.

Once the home of a prosperous Albir resident, it was built between the second and fifth century AD, and is now an open-air museum. The visitable area is about to be enlarged, thanks to a €220,000 regional government grant.

The cash will also provide work for 30 unemployed Alfaz del Pi residents for the next six months under two Generalitat programmes aimed at recovering the region’s cultural, historical and natural heritage. Similar projects included renovating the old Coastguards’ Station in Albir and Alfaz’s Escoles Velles schools.

Work at the Albir site began last November, uncovering more of the oecus, the spacious hall in one of the villa’s principal buildings, explained Alfaz’s municipal archaeologist and museum director Carolina Frias. “The object is to include a new area beside the baths, extending the raised walkway,” she said. 

The site was discovered in the late Eighties but exhaustive excavations did not begin until 2008 when Alfaz Town Hall joined forces with Alicante University.   More than 40,000 people have now visited the site since it opened to the public in 2011.

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