- The House of the Vettii in Pompeii is a remarkable villa known for its well-preserved frescoes and its large size.
- The house was owned by successful freedmen, Aulus Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus, and was protected by the god Priapus.
- Visitors can now explore the House of the Vettii after it reopened in 2023 following two decades of restoration. It is located in Region VI of Pompeii.
The House of the Vettii is one of the most famous villas worth discovering in Pompeii. It is particularly noted for its well-preserved frescoes of Cupids and other mythical scenes (plus it is one of the larger Roman houses in Pompeii). The House of the Vettii only reopened to the public in 2023 after being closed for two decades of extensive restorations.
The House of the Vettii takes its place among the top villas in Pompeii including the Villa of Mysteries (located just outside the Herculaneum Gate). Pompeii is full of many impressive buildings that have been preserved under a thick blanket of volcanic ash for almost two thousand years, and the House of the Vettii is worth exploring!
Ruins At Pompeii
Like so many other villas in the area, the House of Vettii (called Casa dei Vettii in Italian) was damaged during the Pompeiian earthquake in 62 AD. The repairs seem to have been completed when the house was buried in the ash with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
- Owners: Aulus Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus
- Size: 1,100 square meters or 12,000 square feet
The House of the Vettii is one of the largest Roman homes in Pompeii, occupying the whole southern section of the city block. The house was protected by the god Priapus, the god of prosperity.
The House of the Vettii was owned by two successful freedmen, Aulus Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus. The names of these men have been found on two bronze seals in the front hall (leading scholars to conclude that these were the two owners of the house).
Ancient Roman political propaganda in Pompeii
On the outside of the house are wax tablets and notices, one of which identifies Conviva as a free man.
The Decorations In The House Of The Vettii
The House of the Vettii is famous for the main frieze of Cupids carrying out productive activities including selling well, cultivating flowers, cleaning clothes, harvesting, creating perfumes, and other things.
The house has twelve mythological paintings. Two of the most famous paintings are of the god of fertility, Priapus. In one of the images, Priapus can be seen weighing his (enormous) phallic member on scales. The lararium painting of the house (meant to protect the building) is located in the kitchen.
Mythical Paintings Of The House of the Vettii:
- Punishment of Ixion
- Daedalus and Pasiphae
- Dionysus discovering Ariadne
- Death of Pentheus
- Punishment of Dirce
- Infant Herakles strangling the snakes
- Wrestling match between Pan and Eros
- Achilles on Skyros
- Herakles and Auge
- Ariadne abandoned by Theseus
- Hero and Leander
Ancient Roman fresco in Pompeii Mystery Cult
The building also has graffiti at the entrance of the house which suggests a prostitute called Eutychus carried out her affairs in a room there. The room is decorated with erotic paintings. At the time of the destruction of Pompeii, prostitution was common and inexpensive, and pleasure houses were found all across the city.
When Pompeii was first excavated, some mistook it for being a sin city of ancient Rome, but this was actually just normal for the Romans of the period.
What To Know About Visiting The House Of The Vettii In Pompeii
The House of the Vettii finally opened up to the public again in January 2023 after a prolonged period of restoration that took two decades. The ancient Roman townhouse is located in Region VI of the city of Pompeii.
- Reopened: January 2023
- General Admission: 22 Euros (approx. $24 USD) – Pompeii Archeological Site
- Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Pompeii is easy to reach from Naples, the main city in southern Italy. Visitors can take the suburban train from the city center to the stop just outside the Pompeiian archeological site.
There are plenty of guided tour guides offering their services at the entrance. Alternatively, visitors can hire a guide online in advance and customize the tour to explore aspects of their particular interest in Pompeii.
While the Pompeii archeological site has an on-site archeological museum, visitors should also explore the National Archeological Museum of Naples. The museum is home to many of the most remarkable discoveries and artifacts found at Pompeii.
See many of the original famous frescoes and mosaics (such as the Alexander the Great mosaic) and the Secret Room (filled with erotic Roman artifacts that used to be locked away from public view).
Aerial view of Pompeii from a drone
The archeological site of Pompeii is huge and visitors should consider exploring it over the course of a couple of days. It takes several days to explore all the ancient Roman sites in and around Naples. Other excellent sites worth exploring include Herculaneum (the ancient seaside Roman resort town) and Stabiae, the forgotten third city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius.