You are certainly not an idiot, i cant build it too! Apparently the generals spawn on your cities, no more need for villas. They have disabled it for now. Gold is beta anyway!!! and they will find something to do with the villas of course!!
With Gold, they got rid of the Villas because it just did not fit into the campaign for the 2 new scenarios it was going to introduce. Same goes for Phillip now basically, so all your generals will spawn at a city once the appropriate objective has been completed.
The only thing now, which they are aware of, since Villas are no good anymore, it deliberately creates little pockets of Fog of War where there honestly shouldn't be any, so hopefully a solution to that (whether increase LoS of all cities or something which Rob has stated he could consider) present itself in a future update for Gold.