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Villa Regina

Description of the Villa

The Villa Regina lies about 1.5km north west of Pompeii in the town of Boscoreale. This rustic villa, discovered in 1977, consists of various rooms set round three sides of an open courtyard. The villa, which was built in the 1st century BC and enlarged over time, lies in an open excavation about 8m below the level of the surrounding ground.

The main entrance (a) on the west side of the property (pictured below) opens onto a small vestibule. On either side of the entrance are plaster casts of the original doors. The room immediately to the left (c) appears to have been a storeroom; it was here that a large quantity of pottery and farm implements were found.
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To the east of the torcularium is the kitchen (f) which has a low rectangular hearth and, in one corner, a brick oven. On the wall outside (pictured below) is a temple style lararium which held a bust of Bacchus (pictured bottom right).

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The vestibule opens onto the central court (b) which is colonnaded on three sides. The columns are of brick with a coating of stucco painted red and white as shown in the accompanying photos. The west side of the colonnade (pictured below) gives access to the cistern area and a cubiculum (d) which is decorated in the third style on a black ground.
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The large room (e) on the north side of the colonnade is the torcularium. The room could logically be split into two separate areas performing two separate though intrinsically linked functions; nearest the door was the calcatorium where the grapes were trodden in a tub; at the back was the press (pictured left), sited on a raised floor, which performed the final extraction of the juice from the pre-trodden grapes.

At the rear of the press was a strong post to which the inner end of the press beam was attached. In front stood two posts to which were fitted the ends of a horizontal windlass. By means of a pulley and a rope the outer end of the press beam could be raised or lowered in order to exert pressure on the grapes to be pressed. The grape juice ran into a round vat sunk in the floor; from here it was transferred to one of 18 dolia situated in the wine store (j) to ferment (pictured left). According to Pliny's Natural History (XIV, xxi, 136) the best Campanian wines underwent fermentation in the open air, subject to sun, wind and rain.

To the right of the press are the remains of a small altar with a fresco on the adjoining wall (visible in the photograph of the press and pictured below).

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In the north east corner of the colonnade is a secondary access to the court. On the east side of the colonnade is the triclinium (g) (pictured left). The room is decorated in the third style with large red, black and yellow panels above a lower black frieze. The upper zone consists of architectural themes on a white ground. Beyond the triclinium is a barn (h) which gives access to the threshing floor (i) beyond. In the south east corner of the colonnade was a flight of stairs to the upper floor.



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Images ©Jackie and Bob Dunn are reproduced by permission from their website at www.pompeiiinpictures.com
(Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali: Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei)





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