Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii

The Room of the Frescoes at the Villa of the Mysteries + Dog
The Room of the Frescoes at the Villa of the Mysteries + Dog

This room pictured above is probably the most impressive room anywhere in Pompeii. The life sized frescoes that have survived in this villa probably represent an initiation into a cult of mysteries (thereby giving the villa its name). The frescoes are unique and we don’t quite see the same kind of life-sized figures anywhere else in the region.

There is also a dog sleeping in the centre of the room.

This dog followed me all the way from the outskirts of Pompeii from near the tombs near the gates of the city to the villa. It lost me a bit inside the villa only for me to find it fast asleep in the most important room in the house.

It was not just the dog- also teenage tourists using their flash on their cameras – flashes that could potentially damage these delicate frescoes.

This is a bit emblematic of the entire problem surrounding Pompeii- namely the chronic shortage of funds to ensure proper upkeep of the monuments.  It is a big enough job  to maintain what has been excavated already that no new excavations can be done because of insufficient resources.

Even the thousands of tourists walking in do not provide sufficient funds. Another day I will actually talk about the mysteries.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. ashokbhatia says:

    One waits for another day with a keen sense of anticipation!

  2. Nirmala says:

    What a pity! I find similarities with our country!! Anyway glad that we get to see these wonderful sights. Do not know about future generations.Most treasures may be lost forever..

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      True, we can’t see how things will hold up

  3. Lav says:

    the dog was your guide.

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Yes I thought so too

  4. cinzia8 says:

    Hi Sukanya,
    I’m a follower mostly for your Ancient Rome postings. I’m also an author with a novel coming out in 2015 that is set at the end of the Roman Empire. I’m currently writing a scene that takes place in a Roman villa. I’ve done research and I was wondering if you might offer me some small details that you noticed on your more recent visit then mine some 20 years ago? Beautiful pictures. Also, I hope you’ll visit my blog at Historical Happenings and Oddities. (

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Dear Cynthia

      I’m absolutely happy to provide any details that you need that I might have/ know. Let me know.


  5. cinzia8 says:


    At the House of the Faun was the impluvium set in the middle of the atrium? How deep was the entrance arch before stepping into the atrium? Also, was there an antechamber off the atrium or did it lead into a tepidarium or another room comprising the baths? That mosaic I saw of Alexander is quite famous. Was that found in the House of the Faun? Do they have any evidence of who the owner might be? Thanks for your time and for visiting my blog. 🙂

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Hi Cinthia, I’m sorry I never got to reply to your comment. Actually in terms of architectural details I don’t remember much except for whatever I have in my photographs. I could probably guide you to this site which has a detailed layout of that and many other villas and buildings in Pompeii.
      The Alexander Mosaic was indeed found in the house of the Faun. We have no direct evidence of who the owner might have been except that he must have been rich. Some say that Publius Sulla may have lived there.
      Apologies again for the delay

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