The lower class Romans (plebeians) lived
in apartment houses, called flats, above or behind their shops. Even
fairly well-to-do tradesmen might chose to live in an apartment-building
compound over their store, with maybe renters on the upper stories.
Their own apartments might be quite roomy, sanitary and pleasant,
occasionally with running water. But others were not that nice.
In the apartment houses, or flats, an
entire family (grandparents, parents, children) might all be crowded
into one room, without running water. They had to haul their water in
from public facilities.
Fire was a very real threat because people were
cooking meals in crowded quarters, and many of the flats were made of
They didn't have toilets. They had to use public latrines
The upper class Romans (patricians)
lived very differently. Their homes were
single family homes, which in ancient Rome meant the great grandparents,
grandparents, parents, and kids of one family lived in a home
Homes were made, quite often, of brick
with red tile roofs, with rooms arranged around a central courtyard. The
windows and balconies faced the courtyard, not the street, to keep homes
safe from burglars. There were painting on the walls and beautiful
mosaics on the floor. There was very little furniture, and no carpeting.
Wealthy Romans might have a house with a front door, bedrooms, an
office, a kitchen, a dining room, a garden, a temple, an atrium, a
toilet, and a private bath.
Sample Plan of a Roman House
Towns and Homes