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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

House of Julia Felix


1st c. AD


The house of Julia Felix is our third and final house on the tour.

The name Julia Felix means Julia the Fortunate.

The owner was extremely rich and offered part of her house to rent, probably to cover the cost of reparations after the earthquake of 62 AD.

A sign outside reads : "To let, in the estate of Julia Felix... elegant baths for respectable people, shops with upper rooms, and apartments... The lease will expire at the end of the five years."

The property was massive, occupying the entire block.

It had an open-air swimming pool, thermal baths, a tavern, a restaurant, gardens, waterfalls... and it was just round the corner from the amphitheatre.

Its amenities would have attracted wealthy Pompeians.

Like other rich Roman houses, the opening in the atrium's ceiling would provide light and ventilation for the entire house and a basin would catch drinkable rainwater.

The walls were typically painted red and yellow.

They were also decorated with scenes from the Forum - children hiding behind columns, men playing board games, bartering and admiring statues...

There is even a fresco of a child being whipped with his pants down!

The dining room looked onto the gardens.

Romans could spend hours dining.

They would dine lying down on perpendicular couches.

At the end of the garden was a self-contained flat, with its own atrium, bedroom, dining room, private street access and beautiful views over the vegetable garden.

The other side of the house leads to the private baths, which also had a separate entrance onto the street.

It was extremely rare for private homes to have their own baths - which shows how exclusive Julia Felix's apartments were.

La Joconde, de Vinci (1519)



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