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Villa on Sorna

Villa on Sorna

Roman residence ruins

  • Author: Kristina
  • Date Posted: Aug 11, 2016
  • Category:
  • Address: Sorna peninsula, Zelena Laguna

Villa on Sorna (Zorna) was located on the Sorna peninsula, south of Poreč in Zelena Laguna. It was a Roman residence built in either the 2nd or 3rd century.

One theory suggests the name “Sorna” came from an Italian word zavorra meaning ballast since residents used lots of Roman remains from that area to stabilize their ships.

The villa had two central atriums surrounded by several other parts of the architecture. The highest point of the isthmus was occupied by the sacramental part of the villa, containing rooms decorated with polychromous mosaic floor and wall paintings.

At the beginning of the 5th century, a larger edifice of rectangular shape with reinforcements on the outer wall surfaces was erected here. During the construction of the edifice mentioned above, the mosaic floor from the 1st and 2nd century was destroyed and the remains of the older structure, which was demolished down to the level of the floor of the new building, have been recovered.

The building had three entrances, and the interior was divided into two naves by two massive stone pilasters carrying the two-eaved roof construction. From the south side, two smaller rooms have been annexed to the building, one of which was connected to the main room.

An early Christian church was built at the same location later in the 6th century, while only the ruins remain today. It was known as the Church of St. Peter on Sorna.

The villa had a water cistern nearby, drawing fresh water from the springs in Funtana. During the existence of the church, there was also a smaller baptistery.

Fresco fragments

Sorna Fresco Fragment

A fresco fragment from Sorna

The remains of the villa have been excavated and researched in 1966 and 1967, and some fresco fragments have been found at the archaeological site. At the time the fresco fragments were brought to the Archaeological museum of Istria and left unnoticed in wooden boxes. Inside the boxes there are labels that say “central atrium” but often with no note of the excavation site. Recently they have been revised and connected to the Sorna site.


  • Bojan Horvat, historian
  • “Limes XX: Estudios sobre la frontera romana (Roman frontier studies)”, 2009
  • “The treatment of fresco fragments in the Archeological museum of Istria, from 1903 till today”, Đeni Gobić-Bravar, Ravenna, 2014