House of the Vettii

Vicolo dei Vetti, 80045 Pompei NA, Italia

Selina Kyle
by Selina Kyle


Campaign slogans and two signet rings tell us that this domus belonged to the Vettii, wealthy freedmen: renovated in the 1st cent. AD, it centers around the peristyle. The paintings at the entrance highlight wishes of prosperity in cursive style: especially noticeable is the figure of Priapus, god of fertility, resting his enormous member on the plate of a scale, counterweighted by a bag of money. To the right of the entrance is the lararium, an aedicula whose back wall was painted with lares and the genius of the homeowner engaged in sacrifice; below, the snake agathodemone, a benevolent idol. The kitchen hearth has a grate and pots: here was found the statue-fountain of Priapus, belonging to the garden, where other statues and decorative fountains were arranged in a richly scenic context. The ‘fourth style’ atrium is also very elegant, such as the compluvium with its terra-cotta gutters. The sitting room is famous for its panels in ‘Pompeii red’, and for the frieze with cherubs engaged in trades and games. The ‘fourth style’ walls with mythological paintings transform the living room into a sort of art gallery, increasing the cultural image of the owner. By Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompeii (SANP)