The Italian Minister of the cultural heritage, Dario Franceschini, and the Superintendent of Pompeii, Massimo Osanna, received the praise from Rudolf Niessler, General Director of Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission: “The Great Pompeii project - says Niessler - is a good practice, and the Commission regards it as a model of intervention in Europe to administrate the cultural heritage”.
A total amount of 105 million euros, of which 25% as a national share, 76 financed interventions, of which 64 are concluded, 9 are in progress and 3 are waiting for start-up: this is what the Great Pompeii project means. Franceschini says - "it's a good story, and I'm sure the images of Pompeii at night will go around the world". Yes, because thanks to the paths of sounds and lights made for the initiative called "One night in Pompeii", the excavations was open also at night for all the whole summer season. Nighttime visits to Pompeii has been realized thanks to the renewal of the lighting system of the ruins. From the Porta Marina gate to the Basilica 430 old-fashioned lighting fixtures were replaced with new LED ones that allow for energy savings of about 60 percent. There are lots of lights for the whole path which goes through the Porta Marina gate, the suburban baths until you come to the Forum, the main square of the old Roman city. The path of lights is accompanied by sound suggestions, voices and three-dimensional projections.
“The new lighting system of Pompeii - as Franceschini explains - is another important step in the revival of a unique archaeological site in the world, a journey that in three years has allowed to give back to the public 30 domus (houses), to provide Wi-fi in the entire archaeological area and to make a three-kilometer itinerary that allows full accessibility to significant parts of the excavations. Thanks to the play of lights, the lines and shapes of the ruins now shine with a renewed beauty”.
“The rebirth of Pompeii - the minister continues - is also crucial for the international image of the country. Now we must make it a landmark for the development of the entire territory, linking Pompeii with Herculaneum, Stabia and Torre Annunziata. This is one of the most beautiful areas in the world, and it needs to be valued. Pompeii is the visible evidence of how an efficient programming and an optimal use of cohesion policy resources will help to improve, in concrete and even addressing complex situations, the state and the prospects of the whole territory”.
Now the real challenge is to grow in terms of the tourist economy and receptivity. Franceschini hopes that local and private institutions will play their part.
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In the Regio VII of Pompeii, there was a well-known shop, the Bakery of Popidius Priscus. There were several bakeries in Pompeii, 35 shops in total, which had to feed a population of 10 thousands of people. The latin name of a bakery was “Pistrinum” and often the bakeries also made different kinds of pastries, as well as breads.
The Bakery of Popidius Priscus faces on the vicolo Storto (Regio VII 2,22), in the centre of the city. The shop has a masonry oven, that is similar to any modern bakery and recalls, in its shape, the wood-burning oven in pizzerias. The mill and the bakery were connected because the place of grinding and processing of flour was part of the same production process.
In the courtyard, there are five millstones, which are made of igneous rock and were once turned by men or donkeys for wheat milling. The Millstones were composed by two different components: the base stone, which is conic-shaped and stationary and the runner stone that is movable and has the shape of an hourglass. The friction of the two millstones converted the grains of wheat into flour. Once ready, the flour was mixed with water, thanks to a special "kneading machine". One of these kneading machines was found in another bakery in the Regio IX (12.6) and it’s similar to our modern machines, but naturally it’s hand-operated. The dough was subsequently worked on some special desks to give shape to the product. It was generally the famous Roman round shaped bread, with relief segments.
In the large kiln placed in the center of the building, the bread was then cooked and usually sold in a small adjacent bar counter. In the building of Popidio Prisco the counter was absent; Probably the bread was produced on commission or sold to wholesalers or by street vendors, called “Libani”. The cost of a form of bread was around the 2 axes (the tipical Roman coins).
Bread in Antiquity was a basic nutrition food. Unlike what we can find in our bakeries, soft and fragrant, the antique bread was particularly hard because of low quality flour and insufficient yeast, which, if stored for too long, was found to be acidic. Even for these reasons, bread was hardly consumed fresh: rather it was preferable to put it in wine, oil or soups. The Romans also knew made other types of refined bread, such as the bread with spices, milk, eggs, honey or oil.
In addition to the round shape that the excavations of Pompeii have given back to us, there was also a form of elongated bread. Among the bakery products, also various types of "pizza": soft (in latin “artolaganum”) and crunchy (in latin “tracta”).
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It is one of the most famous frescoes in the city destroyed by Vesuvius, so that it has become, over time, the most classic icon of the pompeian garden: the large fresco with garden scenes from the House of the Golden Bracelet of Pompeii will be exceptionally presented at Boscoreale, a city close to the ancient Roman site, during the evening openings scheduled every Friday in August and on Fridays and Saturdays in September, at a cost of 2 euros.
The beautiful painting came back on the 14th of August from the Grand Palais in Paris, where it was exhibited from the 15th of March to the 24th of July in an exhibition titled "Jardins", with works made by famous artists such as Fragonard, Monet, Cézanne, Klimt, Picasso and Matisse.
The House of the Golden Bracelet presents an innovative and complex architectural form resulting from the fusion between the Roman-Italic model of the atrium house with that of the suburban villa. It was implanted on the western slopes of the Pompei hill, exploiting the old and non-functional structures of the city walls and its articulated architecture is developed on three levels in a panoramic position.
The dwelling takes its name from the discovery of an exquisite golden bracelet of seventy-five grams. During the excavation, in the service sector, in fact, has been found out a small family of two adults and a child. In the arm of one of the two adults was found the precious bracelet which consisted of a rod that ends with two serpent heads. The eyes of the animals are made up of precious stones.
The fresco decorated the central part of the wall to the left of the entrance, and it can be considered among the most accurate garden representations of the third Pompeian style, dating from the first century AD. The care of the details depicting the lush flower garden creates a realistic effect that recognizes different species of plants of the time: oleander, violet, palm, rose, ivy, in addition to the various types of birds, swirling or laid on the branches of the trees, such as the pigeon, the colombaccio, the sparrow and the swallow. The decoration, found in the '70s divided in little fragments, has been recomputed thanks to a complex restoration work.
Night walking in the Vesuvius sites will be available until the 30th of September 2017, from 8.30 pm to 11.00 pm, also at the Villa of Poppea in Oplontis and the excavations of Pompeii. Here there will be two different itineraries: the first one starts from Porta Marina with multimedia projections along the way to the theater district; The second one starts from the Amphitheater square with a visit to the exhibitions "Pompeii and the Greeks", "Pompeii underground" about the Pink Floyd and the exhibition of Moregine frescoes in the Grand Gymnasium.
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At the Large Theater in Pompeii, the “PARADE” & “PULCINELLA” ballets are on show
In 1917 Picasso traveled to Italy together with Jean Cocteau to work with the Russian Ballet “Parade”. During his stay the artist visited Rome, Naples and Pompeii.
The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism celebrates the centenary of Picasso's journey with important initiatives, such as the next show promoted by Pompeii’s archaeological park in collaboration with Mondadori Electa: the “Parade-Pulcinella evening” scheduled in the Large Theatre of the ruins.
From Thursday, July 27th, to Saturday, July 29th, the dancers Rebecca Bianchi, Claudio Cocino, Manuel Paruccini and the chorus of the Opera of Rome, directed by Eleonora Abbagnato, will revive the characters and the magical ballets “Parade” and “Pulcinella”.
The “Parade” ballet was born in Rome in 1917 by the collaboration - masterfully orchestrated by the Russian Ballet’s manager Sergey Djagilev - between Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Léonide Massine and Erik Satie. It was immediately thought of by its creators as a new and a revolutionary ballet, where, for the first time, on stage there were three-dimensional costumes similar to sculptures, on an innovative choreography made of dry and fast movements. The setting is the present of that era, a street in Paris where some artists from the circus’ universe and the music-hall - a Chinese wizard, a young American girl and two acrobats - perform with the intent of attracting the spectators. “Parade” exalts characters portrayed in everyday scenes and it was completely detached from the other ballets of the era, based on myth and fairy tale.
“Pulcinella”, a ballet in one act set in the city of Naples, went on stage for the first time on May 15th, 1920 at the Opéra Theater in Paris and Picasso's "visual provocation" immediately received the spectator’s consent. Threefold signature: Igor Stravinskij's music, Léonide Massine's choreography, Pablo Picasso's stage design and costumes. The idea was born from the suggestions collected by Diaghilev, Stravinskij, Massine and Picasso during two trips to the city of Naples and s trip to Pompeii made in March and April 1917. The inspiration for the ballet is the atmosphere lived in the alleys and the Neapolitan markets, the charm of the ancient city of Pompeii and the great tradition of the Italian Art Commedia. To suggest the subject of the ballet is the finding of a manuscript in the National Library of Naples, centered on the famous mask of Pulcinella. Picasso creates a scenery whose fragmentation into rectangles, squares and trapeziums is based on the geometric setting of Cubism and whose cool colors exalt the light of the costumes. In Naples he had been able to attend numerous puppet shows with the Pulcinella protagonist, remaining particularly fascinated by his repeated changes in addressing the audience.
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Politics, 2000 years ago as it is today, has always had its charm: in Pompeii, as was the case in all the cities that had to elect their representatives, it actively involved the whole population who was very fond of the election campaign. All political issues were discussed in almost all the places of the city, from the streets to the taverns.
An epoch of the political life of the ancient city has also remained in the many electoral manifests that are widely spread in different places and that invited citizens to vote for this or that candidate. The term "candidate" derives precisely from a special white, candid toga, which in the pre-election period the various aspirants in power wore.
Unlike our electoral posters that are made with paper, the electoral slogans of Pompeii and the ancient Roman cities were written directly on the walls. The "programmata", as was their name, were actually painted on the walls of houses or buildings, since, at that time, there were no special spaces dedicated to electoral propaganda. The chosen walls were therefore designed to accommodate the writings thanks to a job assigned to a “dealbator”, who, at night, painted the scripts with the help of a lantern’s light.
The electoral posters were not the work of the candidate, but he had to do a good election campaign by trying to make every effort to make himself popular, even by making donations to expand his circle of followers. When the politician had to meet his voters, he always brought a slave called a "nomenclator", who had the specific role of remembering the names of the characters he met. A curiosity is that the electoral posters were signed not by the candidates but by his friends, family and relatives and even by the city corporations.
As a rule, after the name of the candidate and the indication of the office to which he aspired, a short formula was written that contained a sort of invitation to vote for him. An example was the OVF abbreviation (“Oro Vos Faciatis”, that means "please do it, vote for him"). Also, as a good rule for a politician, it was appropriate that he was far from scandals and gossip and that his image was as "candy" as possible, like his dress.
In Pompeii there were two kinds of “programmata”: their names were “antiquissima” and “recentora”. The first one dates back to the period before the foundation of the colony, while the others are referred to the last 17 years of the city's life. Even though women did not have the right to vote, the Pompeiian women followed politics with great passion and, in fact, many of the 2,500 election posters found in Pompeii are signed by women.
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Staff at Flashback Journey to Pompeii. Our goal is to bring you up-to-date information on events, continuing archeological excavations and more on Pompeii.