Treasures under the lapilli

(11 September 2017 - 31 May 2018)
Furnishings, frescoes and jewelery from Insula Occidentalis
the exhibition At the Antiquarium of Pompeii  

The pleasure of living, the refined beauty of Pompeian paintings made of literary references, trompe-l'oeil images of lush gardens, colorful mosaics, furnishings and precious objects from Insula Occidentalis in Pompeii, but also the devastating image of death, frozen in the form of casts, which interrupts the enchantment. An emblematic testimony of the Roman taste of living in magnificent and elegant dwellings told by the exhibition "TREASURES UNDER THE LAPLES. Furnishings, frescoes and jewelery from the Insula Occidentalis "from 11 September to 31 May at the Antiquarium of the Pompeii excavations. The exhibition will offer to the public the opportunity to admire some of the rich furnishings and wall paintings of one of the most famous houses of the grandiose urban villas of the Insula Occidentalis (district at the western end of the ancient city) the House of the Golden Bracelet , closed for decades to the public and today not visited for restoration and enhancement operations that will return the entire complex to fruition.  The exhibition was inaugurated by Massimo Osanna, General Manager and curators.

The grandiose complex of the urban villas of the Insula Occidentalis is located at the western extremity of the ancient city on four panoramic terraces, fading away towards the sea, and offers the visitor a symbolic testimony of the Roman taste for living in magnificent and elegant dwellings. Frescoes, mosaics and furnishings constitute a space where one could experience the pleasure of living, immersed in a scene of refined beauty formed of paintings with literary references, or which portray luxurious gardens that open onto green spaces in an ideal continuity of floor mosaics with coloured marbles from all corners of the Empire, and spectacular displays of water. TREASURES UNDER THE LAPILLI offers the public the chance to admire certain rich furnishings and wall paintings of one of the most well-known houses of the complex, the House of the Golden Bracelet, which has been closed to the public for decades and today is not open to the public due to restoration and development which will return the entire complex to public access.
This house owes its name to a large bracelet - weighing 610g - worn by one of the victims who tried to escape. Others carried with them a small wooden and bronze chest, which contained 40 gold and 175 silver coins. The house featured a large triclinium with refined frescoes, such as the Wedding of Alexander and Roxane as well as Ariadne and Dionysus at Naxos, there to allude to themes of happy marriages. During the Summer season, banquets were held on the lower floor in a luxurious triclinium opening onto a large green space, refreshed by the waters of a monumental nymphaeum, visible in the exhibition, decorated with polychrome mosaics in pasta vitrea, shells and lava, to suggest the idea of a grotto according to the fashions of the time.
Project GPP 27 “Stabilisation works of the Insula occidentalis with the urban villas of the House of the Library (VI,17,41), the House of the Golden Bracelet (VI,17,42), the House of Fabius Rufus (VII,16,20,22) and the House of Castricius (VII,16,16)” is a significant intervention dedicated to luxurious homes - arranged on panoramic terraces facing the sea - which developed on the western border of the city.
This complex project seeks not only to stabilise and restore these rich urban villas, but also to enhance them through itineraries which reopen them to the public after having been closed for a long time. The restoration intervention envisages the demolition of the damaged reinforced concrete structures and the construction of new coverings according to the most up-to-date intervention methodologies. Of certain importance, however, is the arrangement of the escarpment underlying the House of the Library, now at risk of landslide, which will be adequately reinforced.
These houses will, therefore, once again become an integral part of the visit to the ancient city, by means of special arrangements to allow visitors to access the interiors. Additionally, in the south-west area of the House of Fabius Rufus, a planned garden will be created in order to represent the organisation of ancient green spaces. This area will improve of the use of the complex, allowing visitors to group together and pause in one of the most suggestive points of the site, as a blend of the exterior and interior of the ancient city.
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