By Dr Joanne Berry
Last updated 2011-02-17
Shown here is one of Pompeii's many thermopolia - which were shops or 'bars' that are thought to have sold food. They consist of terracotta containers (dolia) sunk into a masonry counter (sometimes covered with polychrome marble) that are believed to have contained hot food that was sold to customers. Some thermopolia have decorated back rooms, which may have functioned as dining-rooms.
In one thermopolium, the remains of a cloth bag were discovered in one of the dolia, along with over a thousand coins; these are thought to represent the day's takings and demonstrate the popularity of the establishment. Lararia (domestic shrines) are a fairly common feature of thermopolia, and sometimes depict Mercury and Dionysus, the gods of commerce and wine respectively.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.