Pompeii: Its Life and Art

By August Mau; Francis W. Kelsey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XLV
THE VILLA RUSTICA AT BOSCOREALE

LESS than two miles north of Pompeii, near the village of Boscoreale, a farmhouse was excavated in 1893-94 on the property of Vincenzo de Prisco. In the last century similar buildings were brought to light in the vicinity of Castellammare, but they were covered up again. Especial importance attaches to this villa rustica, both on account of the extreme rarity of examples of the type and because of the character of the remains, which makes it possible to determine the arrangements with certainty.

The living rooms, the stable, and the rooms used for the making of wine and oil were all under one roof. The size of the building is not so great as might have been assumed from the variety of purposes which it served; the enclosed area, exclusive of the threshing floor, measures about 130 by 82 feet. The plan (Plan IV) is regular, the principal entrance being near the middle of the southwest side.

The entrance was wide enough for carts and wagons, which were kept in the court (A). Along three sides of the court ran a colonnade, over which at the front were upper rooms; the roof on the left side and the rear rested on columns connected by a parapet. Under the colonnade at the further corner is a cistern curb (1), on one side of which is a large wash basin of masonry (2); on the other is a pillar supporting a small reservoir of lead (3). The reservoir, reached by means of steps (4), was filled from the cistern.

In a Roman farmhouse the kitchen was the large, central room (p. 253). Vitruvius recommends that it be placed on the warmest side of the court; and in our villa rustica it lies at the north corner (B) where, in winter, it would receive the full benefit of the sunshine. The hearth (1), on which remains of

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