By Dr Joanne Berry
Last updated 2011-02-17
This is a photograph of the garden of one of the most famous houses in Pompeii, the House of the Vettii. 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.
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