An ancient Roman house has reopened to the public in the archaeological park of Herculaneum, the town near Naples buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79.
Considered the site’s most noble Roman villa, the House of the Bicentenary had been under restoration for 35 years. The three-storey, 600 sq meter domus, which contains stunning frescoes and mosaic floors, was discovered in 1938, 200 years after excavations at the site began, but closed to the public in 1983 after falling into disrepair.
“This is an important result,” Dario Franceschini, the Italian culture minister, said during a ceremony to open the home on Wednesday. “An extraordinary monument, which had fallen into a state of neglect, is again accessible to visitors.”
The frescoes depicting mythological scenes, one of Venus and Mars and one of Daedalus and Pasiphaë, along with paintings of Dionysian themes, were said to have been common features in the homes of rich people in Herculaneum. The site is much smaller and less well known than neighbouring Pompeii, but the town is said to have been inhabited by wealthier residents and therefore contained a bigger share of lavish houses. It was also a hub for wealthy Romans who ventured there in summer to enjoy its beach.
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