One of the most pleasing elements of visiting Pompeii is the careful attention that the Italians have put into recreating and maintaining the gardens within the homes of Pompeii. It helps to provide great depth into the beautiful way in which the people of Pompeii lived. The gardens add a unique flavor and taste to visiting Pompeii and help to appreciate how cultivated the people of Pompeii where in many respects.
This is a large space cultivated as a vineyard, on the south-western edge of the city. A glassed-in display area houses the plaster casts of some of the victims from 79 AD, overcome killed by the enormous power of the eruption while vainly trying to flee. As I said in my General tip about these casts, you can see them in several places in the city, but I thought this was by far the best. It’s a beautifully peaceful spot, away from the crowds (at one point we had it to ourselves, though admittedly this was off season) and seemed to me to be a more respectful environment in which to display the casts. If you stand at an angle to the glass you can deliberately catch the reflection of the sky to create the illusion that the casts are out in the open, but it is simply that, an illusion – if you look at my second photo you’ll see more clearly how they are actually presented.
Near the display case a short steep flight of steps leads up onto the old city walls, near the Porta Nocera (so called because it stands at the beginning of the road leading to the city with the same name). From here you get an excellent overview of the city and Vesuvius beyond – see photo 4. Be careful though – the steps seem steep in parts going up, but are even more so going down!
The nurseries of Pompeii were set up in the early 20th century to reproduce flowers, herbs and trees to plant in the discovered green areas.
At the same time some arboreus sorts that did not belong to the ancient flora were planted:magnificent specimen of mandarin orange trees, magnolia, lotuses and the so called "untrue pepper" still shade the hothouses and the flower beds restored after a long time of disuse.
Actually in the nurseries there are all those sorts of plants useful to adorn the ancient Pompeian gardens and party-walls particularly the ancient Pompeian sorts and those uncommon or those that cannot be found on the Market, grow and increase nowadays
I love gardens. Look at this beautiful sight. Doesn't it make you wanna sit back and start dreaming of life back in those days. In my mind it's all very vivid... You can hear people talking in the streets, charriots, sounds of music from the street players... Beautiful! Except for volcano eruption, of course... But you can't have everything!!!
The name given to this area reflects the dramatic events that took place in its large vegetable garden. Here you can imagine the full horror that took place during the eruption of the Vesuvius. You can see the plaster casts of the bodies of thirteen people, among them whole families of young people with their children, who met their death while trying to save their lives by fleeing towards the town gates in the directions of the sea.
I find it amazing how they have been able to make these plaster casts; it really gives you an idea how horrifying this day in history must have been.
The photo is from the book 'Pompeii under the vulcano'
The house of the Vettii was owned by two wealthy brothers - Aulus Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus. These two brothers were merchants who restored their house after the earthquake of 62 A.D.. The house is a very good example of a property owned by the commercial middle class as opposed to the aristocracy of Pompeii. The house of the Vettii remains very well preserved. It is perhaps most famous for the wonderful frescoes that have survived, the most famous of these being the paintings of the cupids.
There were no shops at the front of this house unlike other houses in Pompeii and so there is no evidence of the commercial interests of the brothers. The house has two atria or halls and a garden which has been replanted. Unusually the house has no tablinum or study. The main rooms in the house are based around the first main atrium and the peristyle. The slaves quarters are generally found around the smaller, second atrium which also contained the stairs to the upper floor.
In the entrance hall to the house is a painting of a Priapus who is weighing his phallus on some scales. Although this appears rather strange today, this was a common feature of Pompeian houses. Not only did this image symbolise fertility, it also kept bad luck away from the house.
This is a large space cultivated as a vineyard, which houses the plaster casts of some of the victims from 79 AD, overcome by the fury of the eruption while they were seeking an escape.
The gardens here are beautiful with a great deal of statuary. Enjoy them. sit down for a while and rest your aching feet.