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|Here is a floor plan, adapted from that of the house of the Vettii, to give a general notion of the layout of a typical Roman house.
1. fauces (entrance corridor)
(A reconstruction of the house of the Vettii can be found at this site.)
This view shows a typical street in the plan of the city.
• East-west streets (decumani) cross north-south streets (cardines) to form a regular grid.
• The streets are paved with blocks of basalt that often show the ruts of cart wheels.
• Stone walkways (crepidines) protect pedestrians from litter and dirt in the street.
• Stepping-stones, not visible here, allow pedestrians to cross the street without going into it.
This view shows the atrium in the house of the Vettii.
• The entrance from the street is a narrow passage (fauces) that opens into the atrium.
• The roof of the atrium has an opening (compluvium) to provide light and air.
• Below the compluvium, there is a basin (impluvium) to collect rainwater.
• The atrium is a reception hall and living room, leading off which is a variety of other rooms.
This view shows a lararium, or shrine to the household gods, in the house of the Vettii.
• The lares were the family's ancestral spirits; the penates, guardians of the family larder.
• The figures shown here are in stucco: the family genius, two lares, and a serpent.
• Often the lararium was just a niche in the wall with a painting or statuettes.
• Sometimes it was an elaborate shrine in the form of a minature temple.
This view shows the peristylium and garden in the house of the Vettii.
• The covered colonnade surrounds the pleasure-garden (viridarium) on all four sides.
• The garden has numerous fountains, tables, and basins in marble.
• Opening onto the peristyle are reception rooms, dining rooms, and women's apartments.
• The back walls of the peristylium are decorated with scenes in fresco.
This view shows the calidarium in the men's section of the Forum baths (thermae).
• It was heated by hot air which circulated through air spaces in the walls and beneath the pavement.
• The vaulted ceiling is decorated with a strigil design in stucco.
• The marble basin (labrum) for cold water is located in the apse.
• The tub (alveus) for hot baths, which is raised on two steps, is located opposite.
This view shows the palaestra, or exercise field.
• It is a porticoed enclosure, often associated with a bathhouse complex, but not in this case.
• Technically a school for wrestlers and boxers, it also served athletes for training and practice.
• Teachers and philosophers met there on the principle of training for mind and body.
• A swimming pool (natatio) could sometimes be found there as well.
This view shows a pistrina, or bakery.
• The two-part millstones were made of resistant, porous lava to avoid grit in the flour.
• The upper stone (catillus) rotated over the lower stone(meta), which acted as a pivot.
• A donkey, which was harnassed to a beam projecting from the upper millstone, turned it.
• Grain was fed into the mill from a hopper suspended from the ceiling.
This view shows a thermopolium, or shop for warm food and drinks.
• The U-shaped counter is less common than the L-shaped type.
• The masonry counter has large ceramic jars built into it for serving wine and foodstuffs.
• The large jar set in the ground (dolium defossum) also stored food items.
• A more general term for a tavern or an inn is caupona.
This view shows the Forum with Vesuvius in the background.
• The Temple of Jupiter is flanked by honorary arches to Drusus (left) and Germanicus (right).
• The building on the left side of the Forum is a horrea, or warehouse.
• The building on the right side of the Forum is the macellum, or food market.
• Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 A.D. and covered Pompeii in rocks and ash.