The House of the Chaste Lovers at Pompeii

chaste lovers Pompeii

The House of the Chaste Lovers gets its name from a symposiac painting depicting a couple exchanging a sensual yet chaste kiss during an outdoor summer banquet organized by two men, accompanied with courtesans lounging on beds under a canopy, where music and dance are the frame for wine and love.

The building is actually a bakery with a dining room and annexed living rooms. The walls were decorated with the above painting and two other similar scenes that show, ironically, the “downside” of such merry banquets.

The structure also contains the carcasses in situ of the mules used to drive the millstone for grinding the wheat. The wood-burning oven is clearly visible in the central courtyard. It is very similar to its modern-day counterparts still in use locally, mainly as pizza ovens. The individual steps in the bread-making process are clearly distinguishable in the well-organized bakery setup.

Numerous observations of the repairing works underway in the bakery at the time of the catastrophic eruption reveal that these works were not addressed to repair damages suffered because of the earthquake of 62 AD, but to repair damages caused by the earthquake of just few days before the fateful eruption, maybe an alert. It may also be deduced that other repair works underway at the time in the various buildings of Pompeii can also be attributed to this premonitory sign and not to earthquake of 18 years before. This significantly alters our understanding of the economy and society of Pompeii in the final decades, formerly considered unable to promptly react to the catastrophe and needing a great deal of time for the reconstruction after the earthquake of 62 AD.

The three-dimensional of the garden of the house
The three-dimensional of the garden of the house of the Chaste Lovers

The three-dimensional of the garden of the house
In 2005, on the occasion of the 11th edition of “Three days for the garden” organized by the Italian Environmental Fund (FAI) at the Castello di Masino (Turin), was presented the reconstruction of the Pompeian garden of the house of the Chaste Lovers.
The plastic measuring nine square meters (3.30 x 2.50 m.), made with live plants from the Applied Research Laboratory of the Archaeological Superintendence of Pompeii, rebuilt in all its parts the garden of the House, by a work of investigation conducted on the flower beds and the cavities left by the roots on the ground. The paleo-botanical surveys conducted on the remains came to light at the end of the eighties have allowed the reconstruction of the ancient flora and garden, through the identification of pollen, seeds, and wood.
The garden measuring about 100 square meters and consisted of flowerbeds and tucked divided by paths in clay. In particular, the beds in question formed a complex geometric design, created taking into account the layout of the rooms that once lined so as to lengthen prospectively the depth of the garden itself.

A “transparent” construction site

In 2010, thanks to an initiative launched by the Superintendency of the excavations of Pompeii it was possible to visit the construction site of the Chaste Lovers. It was possible to relive the excitement of archaeological discovery live, thanks to the presence of archaeologists and restorers at work. Through a system of suspended walkways, it was possible to observe from above, perfectly preserved oven of the bakery, the two stables with animal skeletons, a garden faithfully reconstructed and wonderful frescoes and mosaics. A series of multimedia technologies reproduce the virtual reconstruction of the function of the various rooms.
The archaeological works were visible even by way of Abundance through the clear panels. After years of neglect, the site was in fact totally secured and fitted with a cover that ensures the protection, conservation and enhancement.

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Published by Emiliano's Archaeological Tours

My name is Emiliano Tufano, I am an archaeologist and tour guide. I run an organization providing archeaological and cultural tours in Campania. When I was ten years old I found a piece of painted pottery on a small piece of land belonging to my family, which is located nearby the ancient Greek city of Paestum. For the whole of that day I kept this piece of history in my hands. I remember that it was decorated with a black figured scene of a Satyr driving a biga. The feeling I had when realized it was a genuine antique object was very strong, and I started asking myself many questions about the people who occupied that area across the centuries and, particularly, about the man who made such a beautiful piece of work. Since then I started collecting all sorts of pots and stones that I found while I wandered through the countryside. I used to divide my finds simply on the basis of their shape and color. They were the first steps of me becoming an archaeologist. At school, history was my favorite subject; therefore my decision of which degree course to choose was an easy one, Archaeology. Today, archaeology is my profession and my passion. Throughout the years I developed skills in fieldwork and academic research. I participated as a field director in several excavation projects of fundamental importance across Italy and I was engaged in significant academic research projects in Sicily, Tunisia and Libya. I now fulfill my ambition with a PhD project about the Sicilian prehistory. However, my interests go beyond just the history. I have a strong creative side and I love photography, and I write articles for a newspaper in my local area, play football and enjoy diving. I enjoy traveling and have been to many different countries, where I always make particular efforts to learn as much of the local language and culture as possible. In 2010 I became qualified to work as a tourist guide of the Campania Region, and today I offer guided tours in Italian, English and Spanish. I live my job with passion and professionalism. With me you can visit the wonders of Campania: the Vesuvian archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum and other beautiful sites, such as the historic centers of Naples, Caserta and Salerno, the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Coast, all the major churches and museums. Through exclusive and tailor-made tours, according to your requirements, you will receive quality service and cultural enrichment.

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