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House of the Tuscan Colonnade

Description of the House (Ins VI, 16-18, 26-27)

The House of the Tuscan Colonnade, situated on the Decumanus Maximus, is a fine patrician villa that was built during the Samnite period. Originally consisting of a suite of rooms ranged round a central atrium (d), it was considerably extended in the early years of the first century AD when additional ground was acquired by merging with a second house with an entrance (k) on Cardo III. The space gained allowed the building of the Tuscan colonnade and garden (g).
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The fauces (a), which has little surviving decoration, opens onto a fairly square atrium (d) (pictured opposite). The atrium has a central, marble lined impluvium but the walls are in a rather distressed condition, having lost all but a few traces of their original fourth style decoration.
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At the rear of the atrium is the tablinum (e) (pictured above and right).
The tablinum appears to have been redecorated in the fourth style after the earthquake of AD62
. The decoration consists of red and blue panels
divided by vertical ornamental bands. The upper zone is composed of a complex system of fantastic buildings, topped by large acroteria, and complemented by a number of decorative elements including statues and stretched animal skins.
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On the north side of the peristyle is the triclinium (h) (pictured right and below). This large room is decorated in the fourth style in a very similar manner to oecus (f). The decoration is preserved only moderately on the east wall, while on the north wall the upper zone is virtually intact.
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A flight of stairs off the north east corner of the peristyle originally led to the upper floor where a small treasure in gold coins (to the value of 1400 sesterces) came to light during the excavations.
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When the two houses were combined the entrance to the lesser of the two properties on Cardo III was retained, latterly acting as a posticum or secondary entrance to the enlarged house. The corridor from this entrance (pictured opposite) led straight to the peristyle and also gave access to the service areas north and south.
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The house was again modified after the earthquake of AD62, when two of its street facing rooms (rooms (b) and (c)) on the Decumanus Maximus were turned into shops.

The shop (b) on the west side of the entrance to the house has not survived well and is now in very poor condition. However shop (c) on the east side of the entrance (pictured upper left) has fared much better and retains much of its third style decoration.

The decoration consists of alternating red and blue panels above a lower black frieze. The upper zone (pictured opposite) is composed of blue and white panels containing fantastic architecture and female figures on a red ground.
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On the east side of the atrium is an oecus (f). This room (pictured left) is decorated in the fourth style with a central panel on each wall representing a pavilion supported by white columns, topped by a lintel and curved pediment. The central panels are flanked by red panels on which are plain square sections alternating with openings through which can be glimpsed scenes of fantastic architecture. These scenes are carried through to the upper zone which continues the theme of buildings and figures on a white ground. The lower frieze consists of two bands of colour, one red and one black.
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Between the tablinum and oecus (f), a corridor leads through to the peristyle (g) (pictured left) around which runs the Tuscan order colonnade after which the building was named.  The peristyle is decorated in the fourth style with alternating panels of dark and light red interspersed with decorative panels on a white ground, all above a lower black frieze. The upper zone consists of a mix of garlands, fantastic buildings and boxes with ox sculls all on a white ground. The columns of the peristyle were plastered and painted with a white top and the bottom alternately in black and ochre.
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The decoration consists of red panels with internal decorative borders and occasional floating figures separated by white panels containing fantastic architecture (pictured below and left) all above a lower black frieze.
  The upper zone consists of figures and statuettes set in fantastic architecture on a white ground. Between the two zones is a broad band in dark red composed of rectangular panels containing cherubs alternating with plain square panels.
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On the west side of the peristyle are three cubicula, two of which ((i) and (j)) are decorated in the late third style with fine black and white mosaic floors. The decoration in cubiculum (i) (shown left) consists of
a mix of elements including niches, chandeliers, patterned bands, canteens and winged beasts all set on a white ground above a lower purple decorated frieze.

The decoration of cubiculum (j) (shown lower left) consists of red and yellow panels separated by views of fantastic architecture above a lower black frieze. The room has a fine dark gray mosaic floor with a broad white border divided into squares. In the centre of the floor the decorative motif consists of a wide circular band ornamented with ivy and clover leaves enclosing a square of dark red marble. 
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