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House of Neptune and Amphitrite | Discover the Preserved Frescoes and Mosaics

Herculaneum TicketsHouse of Neptune

What is House of Neptune?

The House of Neptune in the Herculaneum ruins is a well-preserved ancient Roman villa. It is known for its remarkable frescoes, mosaics, and architectural features that provide insights into the daily life and opulence of the Roman elite. One of its most famous features is a stunning fresco depicting Neptune and Amphitrite, the Roman god and goddess of the sea, which adorns one of its rooms, giving the villa its name. The villa is a prime example of luxurious Roman architecture, with a central peristyle, various rooms, an atrium, a kitchen, and bathing areas, all showcasing the artistry and grandeur of ancient Roman culture.

House of Neptune Quick Facts

Herculaneum Archaeological Site, ancient Roman town, italy
  • Official name: House of Neptune (Casa di Nettuno e Anfitrite)
  • Address: Herculaneum Archaeological Site, Corso Resina, 80056 Ercolano NA, Italy
  • Timings: 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM between 16 March to 14 October | 8:30 AM to 5 PM between 15 October to 15 March
  • Closed: The park is closed on 1 January and 25 December.
  • Architectural style: Roman (1st century AD)
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Part of "Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum, and Torre Annunziata" since 1997.
  • Function: Roman residential villa; now an archaeological site offering insights into ancient Roman life and art.

Why Visit House of Neptune?

Herculaneum, House of Neptune and Amphitrite, Campania, Italy
  • Remarkable preservation: The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD buried the House of Neptune under volcanic ash, preserving its original architecture, intricate details, and stunning artworks, standing as a testament to the resilience of ancient structures.
  • Intricate frescoes and mosaics: The walls and floors of the house feature frescoes and mosaics depicting mythological scenes and vibrant landscapes that reflect the talent and skill of the artists of the time.
  • Insight into Roman life: The House of Neptune, thought to have belonged to a wealthy family, showcases the lifestyle and societal norms of its time. Its layout, from public reception rooms to private chambers, offers a glimpse into the domestic life of the Roman elite during the peak of the Roman Empire.
  • Neptune statue & maritime theme: The house is named after a beautiful mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite, demonstrating the importance of the sea gods in Roman religion

House of Neptune Highlights

Atrium in the House of Neptune and Amphitrite

The Atrium

This central courtyard, typical of Roman houses, served as the main entrance and reception area. It features a stunning impluvium (sunken pool) surrounded by intricate frescoes and marble columns.

Triclinium in the House of Neptune and Amphitrite

Triclinium

This dining room is adorned with elaborate mosaics depicting marine life and exotic animals, giving visitors a taste of the opulent Roman banquets. The most prominent one is the one depicting Neptune and Amphitrite, surrounded by sea shells.

Lararium in the House of Neptune and Amphitrite

Lararium

Although damaged by early tunneling, the lararium, a shrine for household deities, provides insights into the religious practices and beliefs of the ancient Romans.

Kitchen in Herculaneum, ancient Roman town

Kitchen

The house's layout includes a lower-level shop with a food counter and kitchen, along with a wooden mezzanine floor.  Visitors can get a glimpse of daily life in this bustling kitchen area.

History of House of Neptune

The House of Neptune, or Casa di Nettuno e Anfitrite as it's known in Italian, was unearthed in the latter half of the 18th century during the Bourbon excavations guided by Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre.Its history dates back to the 1st century BC, which is evident from the Samnite-era floor found beneath the existing structure during the excavations.

The house underwent significant renovations around the middle of the 1st century AD when it was likely owned by a wealthy merchant or high-ranking official. It was during this period that the stunning mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite was crafted, after which the house was named.

The House of Neptune was buried under the ashes of Mount Vesuvius during its eruption in 79 AD, preserving its architecture and artifacts remarkably well for future generations to admire and study. Despite the catastrophic event, the house continues to offer valuable insights into the architectural prowess, artistic sensibilities, and lifestyle of the ancient Romans. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ongoing conservation and study efforts ensure its stories and splendors are passed down to future generations, allowing them a glimpse into the opulence of the Roman era.

Architecture of House of Neptune

The House of Neptune offers a glimpse into the architectural and artistic sensibilities of the Roman era. The house's layout is anchored around the atrium, a common feature in Roman architecture, which was used as the main reception area. The impluvium in the center collects rainwater and adds to the aesthetic appeal of the space.
While the house is modest in size, its interior decoration is anything but. The emphasis on frescoes and mosaics, especially in the triclinium or dining room, showcases the owner's wealth and taste. The floor mosaics here, particularly the depiction of Neptune and Amphitrite, are standout features, reflecting the artistic sophistication of the time.
The architecture's maritime theme, especially the prominent Neptune and Amphitrite mosaic, signifies the house owner's affinity for the sea and marine life. In addition to the artistic grandiosity, the house's structural layout, including a shop and kitchen at the lower level, offers a glimpse into the ancient Roman daily life and societal norms.

House of Neptune Today

Today, the House of Neptune in Herculaneum remains a prominent archaeological attraction, providing a captivating window into ancient Roman life. Its significance lies in its exceptionally preserved architecture, including intricate frescoes and mosaics, offering valuable insights into Roman culture.
As part of the Herculaneum complex, it continues to attract visitors and researchers, contributing significantly to our understanding of the Roman world.




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Frequently Asked Questions About House of Neptune at Herculaneum Ruins

What is the House of Neptune?

The House of Neptune is a well-preserved ancient Roman villa situated within the Herculaneum archaeological site. It offers insights into the architectural and cultural aspects of the Roman era.

Can I visit the House of Neptune with Herculaneum ruins tickets?

Yes, your Herculaneum ruins tickets grant you access to the entire Herculaneum archaeological complex, which includes the House of Neptune.

When was the House of Neptune built?

The House of Neptune was constructed during the 1st century BC, making it over 2,000 years old.

What's inside the Herculaneum ruins?

The Herculaneum ruins encompass a range of structures, including well-preserved residential buildings, public baths, shops, and various artifacts such as pottery, sculptures, and frescoes. Exploring these ruins provides a comprehensive understanding of daily life during ancient Roman times.

Is the House of Neptune wheelchair accessible?

Herculaneum offers wheelchair-accessible pathways, ensuring easy access for visitors with mobility challenges to explore its historical treasures.

Is there a dress code for visiting the Herculaneum ruins?

While there isn't a specific dress code, it's advisable to dress comfortably for walking and exploring the archaeological site. Comfortable shoes, sun protection, and weather-appropriate clothing are recommended for an enjoyable visit.