Restored Pompeii estate provides a glimpse of elite Roman life. Take a look inside

Almost 2,000 years after the volcanic ash of Mount Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii, fountains flow and plants grow again at this opulent restored home.

Restoring Pompeii’s iconic House of Vettii to its former beauty took 20 years, but the home finally reopened to the public on Tuesday, Jan. 10, the Pompeii Archaeological Park said in a news release. The estate offers a glimpse into elite Roman life.

The House of Vettii boasts a colonnaded garden surrounded by 18 columns and filled with sculptures, fountains and greenery, park officials explained. The garden’s water pipes were replaced allowing the fountains to gush again.

The restored garden at the House of Vettii.
The restored garden at the House of Vettii.

Copies of the garden’s original sculptures were created, photos show. Botanists even reproduced and replanted ancient plant species.

Copies of the original garden statues.
Copies of the original garden statues.

Inside the home, archaeologists spent countless hours removing layers of wax from the wall frescoes and restoring the details of the underlying paintings. Videos show this process.

Two men, Aulus Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus, owned the House of Vettii, the park explained. The freedmen were formerly enslaved but became rich through the region’s wine trade and rose to the highest levels of society.

“They evidently tried to show their new status also through culture and through Greek mythological paintings,” the director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, told the Associated Press. “It’s all about saying, ‘We’ve made it and so we are part of this elite.’”

The men may have been brothers, but “there is no certainty about that,” the Associated Press reported.

Vibrant wall paintings fill the room of Pentheus, photos show. The scenes show the mythological hero Hercules struggling against serpents sent to kill him, the news release said.

The restored room of Pentheus.
The restored room of Pentheus.

Nearby, murals in the room of Ixion fill the walls like a gallery in vivid red, blue and gold, photos show.

The restored room of Ixion that opens to the garden.
The restored room of Ixion that opens to the garden.

On one end of the garden, the room of the cupids boasts delicately crafted scenes of cupids selling flowers and wreaths, producing perfume, goldsmithing, doing laundry, baking bread and a variety of other activities.

The home also has a kitchen, a servants quarters and a room likely used for prostitution, officials said.

A view of the home and its garden.
A view of the home and its garden.

“The House of the Vettii represents the story of the Roman world encapsulated in a single house,” Zuchtriegel said in the news release.

Pompeii is about 155 miles southeast of Rome.

Google Translate was used to translate the news release from the Pompeii Archaeological Park.

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