Although typological-historical research has produced a wealth of detailed contributions on the theme of the Italian villa, particularly from the time of its codifi cation by Renaissance writers (including developments in the various regional areas where the most remarkable examples are to be found), the question of the origins and fi rst typological conversions of villas does not appear to have received the same exhaustive and systematic treatment from specialized historians. The reasons for this defi ciency are probably not to be attributed to a continuing prejudice of a purist nature, but are chiefl y related to the impossibility of reconstructing, in documented fashion, a suffi cient quantity of typologically signifi cant and classifi - able original material covering the period of the urbanization of the city and region during the time of the Commune. The task is rendered more diffi cult by the lack of an unequivocal defi nition of suffi cient available structural elements to identify this particular category in its earliest phase which, as has been shown in the previous chapter, was accompanied by the numerous unspecifi ed functions of this particular period, when the commissioners were just emerging as a social class. We shall avoid adopting restrictive interpretations of the meaning of the word “villa”, which lean towards the rigidly typological-functional classifi cation proposed by some scholars (such as that introduced by Wölffl in1 and followed by others) and risk missing, moreover, the highly varied expressions of this suburban phenomenon as an instance of upper and middleclass culture.2