Casa dei Vetti, Pompeii
Referred to by one guidebook as Pompeii's "bachelor pad", this villa was owned by two brothers. I think the official "Brief Guide to Pompeii" says it best: "especially noticeable is the figure of Priapus, god of fertility, resting his enormous member of the plate of a scale". The combination of the large "member" and the bag of money on this fresco symbolizes the belief that true happiness can only come as a result of balance: in this case, the balance of money and love.
Owned by the brothers Aulus Vettius Restitutus and Aulus Vettius Conviva, the House of the Vettii is a good example of Pompeiian wealth. The large house has many distinguishing features including its famous fresco by the door, on a column to the left side of the vestibule, depicting the god of fertility Priapus, there to ward of the 'evil eye' of neighbours envious of the occupants wealth, and the temple-like lararium, the shrine to the Lares.
The Casa dei Vettii (in English, Vettii's house) was owned by Aulo Vettio Restituto and Aulo Vettio Conviva, two important merchants of the upper class of the town. The house was built during the Samnite Period (second century BC) and modified at the half of the first century AD. Inside the house you can see wonderful frescos in the fourth style.
Your visit of the house start from the hallway where you can see fantastic frescos showing Priapus, animals and trees. Then you go in the atrium where you can see fantastic fresos on the columns showing girls and cupids. In the peristyle you can see marble statues showing children and satyrs. In the north side of the peristyle there is the triclinium with the red frescos on the walls with scenes of cupids and psichai intents in arts and works. You can see many others interesting frescos in the oecus (torture of Dirce and much more). Nowdays the house is closed to visitors.
The house is named for its possible owners, the Vettii brothers, whose signet-rings were discovered during the excavations; they are thought to have been freedmen and may have been wine-merchants. The ornate and formal garden would have been glimpsed through the front door of the house, allowing passers-by a glimpse of the wealth and taste of its owners.
The garden was full of marble and bronze statues, 12 of them fountain-heads that spouted water into a series of basins. The garden is enclosed on four sides by an elaborately decorated portico, onto which open a series of rooms that were probably used for entertaining guests.
The excavation of this house heralded a new approach to the archaeological record of Pompeii. The statuary, and some of the household artefacts, that were uncovered were restored to their original contexts within the house, rather than removed to the museum in Naples. The idea was that modern visitors to the town could see what the house would have looked like before it was destroyed by the eruption of AD 79.
When this house was excavated between 1894 and 1895 it caused a sensation because of its exquisite 4th - style decorations with a wealth of paintings and mythological figures. For some reason this house was left untouched by raiders after the eruption.
The house was owned by the Vettii family, a family of freedmen and members of the emerging wealthy class that ran the town.
The painting on the right hand side of the entrance door is an apotropaic male figure placing a bag of coins (wealth) on one scale pan and a large phallus (health) on the other.The message being good health is worth its weight in gold.
This is one of Pompeii's finest houses and is decorated with some of the finest frescoes found. The Vettii were not aristocrats but freedmen, former slaves who had made a fortune through trade. More pictures can be found in one of my travelogues.
The House of the Vetti is a luxurious home of two rich 'nobleman' who lived in Pompeii just before the disaster struck. If you are looking for a good example of where the residents of Pompeii might have been headed, stop by. Inside, there are a number of impressive bedrooms, each having their own wall paintings of different scenes, all very well-preserved, right down to the color.
The owners of the House of the Vetti were freedmen who had become rich merchants. Its interior walls are covered with many beautiful paintings and friezes.
In the atrium of the more rustic part of the house is the lari shrine--the lari were the deities who protected the house. This photo shows the ancestral spirit of the pater familias with two lari and below them a serpent.