Milreu Ruins

Ruins in Estói

Image by Samuel Magal Getty Images

Situated 900m west of Estói, these Roman villa ruins are so large and grand they were originally thought to have been a town. The villa, inhabited from the 1st century AD, has the characteristic peristyle form, with a gallery of columns around a courtyard. The highlight is the temple devoted to a water deity, the fish mosaics and former central pool. At the entrance is a small museum with a scale model of the temple in its glory days.

The fish mosaics in the bathing chambers (to the west of the villa's courtyard) provide a tantalising glimpse of the villa’s former glory. The remains of the bathing rooms also include the apodyterium (changing room; note the arched niches and benches for clothes and postbath massage) and the frigidarium, which had a marble basin to hold cold water for cooling off after a bath.

Other luxuries included underground heating and marble sculptures (now displayed at Faro's Museu Municipal).

In the 6th century the temple was converted into a church, and a small mausoleum was added, and in the 8th century it was converted into a mosque. In the 10th century it collapsed, possibly due to an earthquake, and the site was abandoned. In the 15th century, a farmhouse was constructed within the abandoned site (the house, much modified, is still there today).

Faro–Estói buses stop at the site.