A villa was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity, sometimes transferred to the Church for reuse as a monastery. Then they gradually re-evolved through the Middle Ages into elegant upper-class country homes. In modern parlance, ‘villa’ can refer to various types and sizes of residences, ranging from the suburban “semi-detached” double villa to residences in the wildland–urban interface.
Today the term “villa” is often applied to vacation rental properties. In the United Kingdom the term is used of high quality detached homes in warm destinations, particularly Florida and the Mediterranean. The term is also used in Pakistan, and in some of the Caribbean islands such as Jamaica, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Guadeloupe, British Virgin Islands, and others. It is similar for the coastal resort areas of Baja California Sur and mainland Mexico, and for hospitality industry destination resort “luxury bungalows” in various worldwide locations.
In Indonesia, the term “villa” is applied to Dutch colonial country houses (landhuis). Nowadays, the term is more popularly applied to vacation rental usually located in countryside area.
Heritage villas: late 19th century, Auckland, New Zealand
In Australia “villas” or “villa units” are terms used to describe a type of townhouse complex which contains, possibly smaller attached or detached houses of up to 3-4 bedrooms that were built since the early 1980s.
In New Zealand the term “villa” is commonly used to describe a style of wooden weatherboard house constructed before WW1 characterised by high ceilings (often 12 ft), sash windows, and a long entrance hall.
In Cambodia “villa” is used as a loanword in the local language of Khmer, and is generally used to describe any type of detached townhouse that features yard space. The term doesn’t apply to any particular architectural style or size, the only features that distinguish a Khmer villa from another building are the yard space and being fully detached. The terms “twin-villa” and “mini-villa” have been coined meaning semi-dettached and smaller versions respectively. Generally, these would be more luxurious and spacious houses than the more common row houses. The yard space would also typically feature some form of garden, trees or greenery. Generally, these would be properties in major cities, where there is more wealth and hence more luxurious houses.
Source : Wikipedia