|The site, in the outskirts of the modern town of Terzigno, lies just north of Pompeii on the south eastern slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Excavations
Terzigno began in 1983-4, with the unearthing of three villas, named
rather unimaginatively Villa 1, Villa 2, and Villa 6. Excavation work on
the villas, which lie beneath many
metres of volcanic debris, has continued on and off since that time.
The partial excavation of Villa 1 uncovered a wine store (pictured right) which contained 42 dolia. To the north of the wine store was a colonnaded court with tufa and brickwork
columns while to the east was a room used for
the storage of animal fodder.
Judging by finds on the property, the villa must have had a residential quarter, which has yet to be excavated.
presence of building material in the area implies that repairs were
being carried out on the villa at the time of the eruption, perhaps to
rectify the damage caused by the earthquake of AD62 or more probably by
the seismic activity preceding the eruption.
Villa 2 consists of various rooms for the production of wine set round an open
courtyard colonnaded on two sides with brickwork pillars and columns. Water was supplied by two large cisterns found in the courtyard. On the north side of the courtyard was a large kitchen,
accessible directly from the vestibule, and a room opening onto the
portico. Here were found the skeletons of five individuals (pictured right), their most precious belongings beside them.
In the portico were found a pair of
silver skyphoi and a silver situla which must have been dropped during their attempted
flight. One of the skyphoi (a two-handled wine cup) is pictured right. The cup, some 10.5 cm in diameter with a circular base, has a series of reliefs of Eros in various poses. The south side of the building was occupied by a torcularium
and a wine store containing 24 dolia. Both these rooms are raised above the level of the adjoining courtyard.
Villa 6 (a partial plan of which is included top right)
is the most important of the villas found at Terzigno due to the
exceptional painted decoration found there. The decoration belongs to
the mid 1st century BC when residential quarters were added to the
As well as the production area (a), a small kitchen, the torcularium
and the wine store have been uncovered. On the north side of the court
(c), the portico (d) and a number of rooms in the once residential area
have been excavated. In the last period of the villa's life this part of
the villa was degraded and used by workers involved in the wine
production. The graffiti scrawled on the walls and some equipment that
was used in the production of wine found there attest to the change from
its original use.
consisted of three gold necklaces, one of which was embellished with emeralds, two solid gold bracelets, a pile of denarii in a
small bag, a mirror (pictured left) and a small silver amphoretta.
The triclinium in particular
was richly decorated with a series of panels, reminiscent of the Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii, portraying a mixture of mythological
characters including Venus and Dionysus
as well as more mundane figures viewed posed behind a series of
decorative columns. The east wall is pictured below with a detail from
the upper zone shown left.
The west wall from the same triclinium is pictured below with a section from the central panel enlarged on the left. Following
the earthquake of AD62 the residential part of the villa (b) was
abandoned and the villa transformed, to be used exclusively for wine
production. To judge by the discovery of the skeletons of a group of slaves probably killed by
collapsing rubble, the winery was still in production at the time of the eruption.