This article has the purpose to put in evidence all the newest openings that you can admire during 2017 in Pompeii. So, before planning a journey to Pompeii, enjoy this helpful reading!
The House of Obellius Firmus (Regio IX, Insula 14, n. 3-4) is one of the largest houses in Pompeii. Once, an aristocratic family lived there and its last owner was M. Obellius Firmus. A clear sign of its wealth is the iron and bronze strongbox, which was discovered in the atrium and is now exposed there.
The House of Marcus Lucretius Fronto (Regio V, Insula 4) is an elegant dwelling dating back to the II century BC. As the inscriptions on the façade suggest, the owner was probably Marcus Lucretius Fronto, a brilliant politician. The house has remarkable frescoes inside.
The House of the Small Lupanar (Regio IX, Insula 5, n. 16) is now open for the first time ever. This building might have been an inn, where in the spaces intended for the innkeeper and his family, there was a secluded room for the purchase of sexual services. Actually, the erotic pictures decorating the room prove its function and probably aimed to advertise the sexual services offered.
The House of Vettii (Regio VI, Insula 15, n. 1), as already said in a previous article here on our blog, is one of the richest and most famous houses in Pompeii. Now tourists may visit the entrance, the atrium with the surrounding cubicula, the triclinium with the wonderful set of mythological frescoes. Once, the atrium had bronze strongboxes on the either side and their rich decorations symbolise the wealth of the house. Now, one of them comes back to its original location. The house was under the protection of Priapus, who is represented with an oversized phallus on the right of the room. The picture is on view again, after the restoration. The god represented the wealth of the two owners, the brothers Aulus Vettius Restitutus and Conviva, who were freed slaves, who got rich thanks to their trade.
The House of Adonis is best-known for the set of frescoes representing Adonis dying in the arms of Venus.
The House of the Anchor (Regio VI, Insula 7, n. 18) overlooks via di Mercurio and was built around the second half of the II century BC. The House is named after the anchor depicted in the mosaic at the entrance. This dwelling has an original layout compared to traditional layouts in Pompeii architecture. The house is actually set on two levels in the shape of a L, at different heights, including a reception room and a garden with a covered portico.
The House of the Labyrinth is named after the mosaics of its portico. In this house there are thermal baths and a space intended for the production of bread.
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Exhibitions 2017. Pompeii and Naples still protagonists
It's time to think about new events in history and archeology of 2017, and we can already give you two important advances on two exhibitions not to miss.
The places are Pompeii and Naples and the theme is unique: POMPEII AND THE GREECE.
Overlooking on the Mediterranean Sea and part of the Campania context full of various ethnic and cultural presences, Pompeii lives, as all the settlements of the ancient Italy, an articulated contact with the greek world, documented since before the founding of the city. Events such as the Battle of Cuma (happened on the 474 BC), which completely altered the balance of the Gulf of Naples, for example, have marked the identity, the cults and the models of the ancient Pompeii. The exhibition tells the stories of an unusually Pompeii linked with the Greek culture since the objects - divided into small groups and in seven thematic sections -: ceramics, ornaments and weapons, items from the architectural system, sculptures from Pompeii, Metaponto, Poseidon, Cuma, Capua and Gela, inscriptions in different spoken languages -Greek, Etruscan, Paleoitalico-, funerary objects from different centers of the Mediterranean, Greek sculptures and architectural plates. The works come from Pompeii and the main national and European museums; finds that often for the first time come back in Italy. The exhibition illustrates to the general public the charm of a non-linear historical narrative, built of interrelated patterns, composed of multiple and contradictory identity, by layered languages consciously re-used, born along the Mediterranean area. A narrative that suggests a comparison and a reflection on our contemporary with his dynamism made of migration and conflicts, encounters and clashes of cultures.
Naples, National Archeological Museum
The exhibition explores the tension between identity and otherness that characterizes a specific group of mythological tales, myths of transformation or 'metamorphosis'. From the stories of Danae, Leda, Europa and Ganymede to the myth of Io, Daphne, Narcissus and Echo, up to that extraordinarily complex of Hermaphrodite. A path in the greek myth and his fortune through the stories with some common narrative ingredients. If, on the one hand, the exhibition makes extensive use of the material of Ovid (also in view of his next two thousandth anniversary), the theme is treated in a much broader perspective, taking its cue, rather, from the iconographic tradition and the metamorphosis images in Pompeii. In the exhibition, each group of works is joined to a 'summary' of the myth, based on the literary and iconographic sources, ancient and modern, designed to bring to light its changes, modifications, extensions. The rich selection of objects includes, in addition to numerous wall paintings of mythological subjects, mosaic panels, decorated in marble and bronze, gems and jewelery items, bronze utensils and other metals. For each myth is also been offered a small selection of works of more recent periods (from the early modern period to contemporary times), that can illuminate milestones in the reception of Greek transformation myths.
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Ancient Pompeii continues to hold surprises almost 2000 years after the eruption that, even if it was the reason of the terrible destiny of the citizens, consecrated the city as one of the most famous and important historical heritages of the Roman time in the world. The new findings on the area of the Pompeian necropolis of Porta Nola (one of the gates of the city) were among the protagonists of the fifth edition of the Days of Archeology of Valencia, during the conference of the second day, which took place on Saturday the 17th of December at the MUVIM (Museum of Illustration and Modernity of Valencia).
The directors of a team composed of international archaeologists and professionals of the project "Investigating the archeology of death in Pompeii: the necropolis and fugitives of Porta Nola", Stephen Kay of the British School in Rome, Llorenç Alapont of the Department of Archaeology of the CDL Valencia (Departamento de Arqueologia del Ilustre Colegio Oficial de Doctores y Licenciados de Valencia Castellon), and Rosa Albiach of the MUVIM, and with the participation of the Museu Valencià de Prehistoria de València for the restoration, explained to the community the interesting findings of the excavation held this summer between July 17 and August 19 in the area next to Porta Nola in the ruins of Pompeii.
The excavation team unites professionals in the world of archeology from different countries of the world (in the last campaign they came from Italy, England, Spain, USA, Australia, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Argentina and Mexico), who became famous in 2015 for the discovery of a tomb with the remains of a newborn (a rarity and unusual for the Roman city) during their works in the same area of ancient Pompeii. In 2016 they continued the digging and anthropological operations making new interesting discoveries.
During their interventions, Kay, Alapont and Albiach presented the results obtained during the excavation last summer, this time concentrated in the area immediately posterior to the mausoleum of Marco Obellius Firmo, one of the most powerful men of ancient Pompeii whose domus (house) was recently reopened and is visible to the public, to understand its relationship to the entrance of the cemetery and find out if it was part of the burial ground or delimited the "pomerium" (sacred area) of the city. The work of the professionals in the field has brought to light certain of deposits on the door of the wall of the cemetery as a result of the cleaning of the ''ustrinum" (a space dedicated to cremation of the deceased in the Roman period) as well as a dirt path that led from the door of the necropolis to the gate of Porta Nola.
One of the most important attractions that shows the architectural grandeur is the funeral building of the age of Tiberius (A.D. 14-37) built for herself and her family by Eumachia, priestess of Venus: on a high terrace stands the portico, with burial chamber and the back fence.
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An original exhibition entitled "The body of crime", has been previewed to the press on Friday 16th December in the Antiquarium of Pompeii. It is a collection of various materials (ceramics, bowls, statues, votive deposits, etc.) from the sixth century to the Roman age, kept for a long time in Pompeii deposits.
The pieces were taken away from Pompeii by professional thieves or tourists. In the first case, the problem is serious: valuables go on the black market of archaeological heritage and it's up to the police to recover them with great difficulty; in the latter case these fragments are often not worth anything and they, however, are given back after many years because they are marked by the so-called “curse of Pompeii”: untold misfortunes raining down on immoral visitors to the excavations.
The Pompeii Superintendence is not insensitive to the issue and so they inaugurated the "The body of crime", an exhibition of amphorae, antefixes, and valuable pieces returned by police and carabinieri. In 2017, the superintendent Massimo Osanna will set up another exhibition with small fragments and letters, now in storage, sent to his office. Senders are tourists hit by the curse of Pompeii; maybe it is not true, but many people believe in it.
The high majority of the occasional rogues returned everything, even after many years away. Even if it is only a little stone. After one bad deed, they have all stumbled into a series of unpleasantness. Sometimes succinct, others prolix, letters are shipped to Pompeii's offices. The Superintendent receives hundreds of them every day from the five continents with stolen goods in the packages. Small objects, in some cases, even rusty nails of modern hardware. As if to say: you do not even know how to pilfer!
It is therefore the sum (of thefts) that makes the total and arouses the curiosity of Antonio Cangiano, a reporter specializing in archeology or better in the atrocities that surround our beloved sites. This time he tracked this strange bad habit bearer of bad luck, to be investigated if possible with a secular journalistic eye. Everything is merged in the book "The Curse of Pompeii". It speaks of the black legend supported by too many tests: if you steal something in Pompeii then comes the punishment. The preface was written by the famous Neapolitan journalist Luigi Necco.
"I’m sending back to you" - is the tone of one of the messages - "something I collected improperly in 1983 and which brought me only misfortune. Now I feel free". The journalist tried to secularize the divine nonsense that over the centuries have given magical powers to ancient monuments. The book talks about the esoteric suspension of a place like Pompeii: multiple testimonies of guardians, guides, reckless visitors and nights crossed with tension, if not fear, in the streets of the city expired by violent death in 79 BC. If individual houses inhabited by people killed inside hide 'ghosts', what about an entire city deceased in unison under the hot ash and stone of Mount Vesuvius? Hence the sworn testimony of people normally skeptical who tell Cangiano about a strange thing that happened on the Street of Abundance…
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On December 23 the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni was in Pompeii to inuagurate part of the House of the Vettii, which is reopened to the public after approximately ten years.
Gentiloni was welcomed in the excavations by the General Director Massimo Osanna and the Director of the Great Pompeii project Luigi Curatoli, together with the Minister of cultural activities and tourism, Dario Franceschini.
The Italian Prime Minister said that: “Pompeii is a wonderful city, very well preserved, with the presence of so many visitors and an atmosphere that makes us feel proud and privileged to be Italian. But we can do more to exploit the potential of this area. You could also visit Pompeii for several days, due to better accommodation in the area, and it's not just a dream but the reality of a tourism that is improved”.
Franceschini took the opportunity to emphasize that in three years the Great Pompeii Project eii has improved the most important archaeological site in Italy. And it will be further improved with other projects like the perimeter lighting, the wifi coverage and the site surveillance.
The story of the restoration of the House of the Vettii was a mixture of bureaucracy and technical difficulties which have often blocked its fruition. In 2009 (when there wasn’t the Great Pompeii Project) they were contracted out restoration works for 548,000 euros.
Rebuilt a first cover, there was a first partial opening, then the Higher Institute for the preservation and restoration (Iscr) - which since 1996 takes care of the architectural complex, but also the decorations and the furnishings - highlighted the need to carry out a radical intervention of securing and restoration and domus was permanently closed.
In the house they were found near the safe two bronze seals: "A. Vetti Restituti and A. Vetti Convivaes". So was given the assignment of the name of the house to a family of freedmen, that were freed slaves and they became rich thanks to the trade. The famous fresco of Priapus with a giant phallus on the right side of the entrance vestibule was used to ward off the evil eye from the house. Also in the hall two raised safes on some stone blocks had to impress the visitor and confirm to him that the house was property of a rich and well-off family. The house is located in the Regio VI, visited by the Prime Minister and made safe with the Great Pompeii Project, an area of 80 thousand square meters and divided in seventeen insulae.
The actions programmed in the Great Pompeii Project have also allowed the reopening of the House of the wounded Adone, so named for the megalography with Adonis rescued by Aphrodite and surrounded by Cupids. New openings are also the house of the Anchor, so called because of the anchor represented on the mosaics of the vestibule and the house of the Labyrinth, from the subject of the mosaic of a room that opens onto the peristyle.
Take a tour of Pompeii with us and time travel to the past! Start by viewing our guided Pompeii tours here. Or call our Pompeii office at +39 081 1877 7006.
Staff at Flashback Journey to Pompeii. Our goal is to bring you up-to-date information on events, continuing archeological excavations and more on Pompeii.