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The House of the Vettii

The house of the Vettii was owned by two wealthy brothers – Aulus Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus. These two brothers were merchants who restored their house after the earthquake of 62 A.D. The house is a very good example of a property owned by the commercial middle class as opposed to the aristocracy of Pompeii. The house of the Vettii remains very well preserved. It is perhaps most famous for the wonderful frescoes that have survived, the most famous of these being the paintings of the cupids.

There were no shops at the front of this house unlike other houses in Pompeii and so there is no evidence of the commercial interests of the brothers. The house has two atria or halls and a garden which has been replanted. Unusually the house has no tablinum or study. The main rooms in the house are based around the first main atrium and the peristyle. The slaves quarters are generally found around the smaller, second atrium which also contained the stairs to the upper floor.

This is a picture on the central wall at the back of the reception room overlooking the garden of the House of the Vettii. It depicts the suffering of Ixion. Ixion had tried to win the love of Hera, Zeus' wife. In order to stop this, Zeus formed a cloud, Nephele, to resemble Hera and by her Ixion became the father of centaurs. As a punishment for his crime, Zeus sent him to the underworld where he was punished by being fixed to a wheel that turned forever.

Atrium with impluvium

Atrium with impluvium

In the atrium there was a large 'impluvium' to collect rainwater. This pool can be seen in the picture. In the early days of Pompeii, before it had a proper water supply, the water collected in the impluvium was of great importance to a household.

Strongbox

Strongbox

This strongbox was found along with another in the main atrium of the house. This was where the owners of the house would have kept their valuable possessions.

Garden

Garden

The garden is surrounded by a peristyle which has been restored. The garden itself contains many of the original Roman plants. Archaeologists can discover what plants the Romans had in there gardens by using Fiorelli's Process.

Bronze fountain

Bronze fountain

This picture shows a bronze fountain from the garden of the house of the Vettii. The whole garden has been replanted with Roman plants to recreate the splendour of the original garden.

Triclinium wall painting

Wall painting in triclinium

The walls of the dining room, or triclinium, of the House of the Vettii were decorated all around with wall paintings. Just below the main painting, you can see a section of a long frieze depicting cupids at work.

Cupids making wine

Cupids making wine

This section of the painting shows cupids selling wine. To the right of the picture you can see cupids pouring out a sample of wine from an amphora.