Date: Wednesday, August 6, 1958
Place: Pompeii – back to Rome
After having strict orders from John to be ready to leave at 9:00, we ended up waiting for the bus which was a half hour late. Then on to Pompeii for another bumpy ride – no speed limits!
Took a hurried tour of the place, the forum, some of the streets, and a house that belonged to “two naughty bachelor brothers”. There were a couple rooms that only the “men” were allowed to see!
Next on to the Cameo factory where I went wild buying a coral necklace and earrings, a cameo locket and a beautiful bracelet made from all the kinds of lava from Mt. Vesuvius. (Note: Judy makes no notation of these costs.)
On to the train for a fast trip to Rome, and lunch on the train where the water gave me two pears for dessert. (Everyone else only had one!)
As soon as we got back to our dear Umbra, Sue and I took off across the street for some ice-tea, and then around the corner to get our hair-cut. I got sort of an Italian deal for only 50¢! Got Marge and Mary Ann to walk to St. Peters with me for medals and rosaries ($20.00)!
After supper, Judy S., Sue, Jan, Marge, Patty and I went window shopping and ended up at our restaurant for hamburgers, ice-tea, and ice-cream. The others were livid, but Sue and I plodded on and on the way home met these two darling Italians on a scooter, who after going past us four times, asked if they could walk us home! We said “of course”! so they got us a coke and asked us out tomorrow night! Really neat!
The naughty bachelor house that Judy referred to is the House of the Vettii, built during the Roman period and preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius. Its owners were Alus Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus, two wealthy ex-slaves. The house was considered extravagant for the time and demonstrated the pair’s status and prestige.
It is believed that in Pompeii, along with wealth came the deterioration of moral virtues. Artwork of the time reflected this change in its graphic use of sexual themes. The House of the Vettii contains a number of erotic frescoes and sculptures. The entryway contains one of the more well-known paintings – a large image of Priapus (god of fertility) weighing his exposed penis on scales against a sack of coins. This painting was not just meant to titillate viewers, but was also intended to act as protection from evil spirits.