Pompeii's so-called ‘House of Lovers’ has reopened to the public for the first time in 40 years.
The house, the only ‘domus’ whose second floor was almost completely preserved after the eruption, was closed after being severely damaged during the Irpinia earthquake in 1980.
The building takes its name from a Latin inscription carved on the right of the entrance: “Amantes, ut apes, vitam melitam exigunt.” (Lovers, like bees, lead a life as sweet as honey.)
It is positioned in the heart of the Regio I, and it’s thought to date to the 1st century B.C. because of the style of the exterior.
The house was uncovered in 1931 and the archeologist in charge at the time had the brilliant intuition to consolidate the upper floor of the house during excavations, explained Massimo Osanna, the director of the Archeological Park of Pompeii.
It was closed after the earthquake because deemed unsafe even for archeologists. In the last few years, the House of Lovers was restored thanks to funds from the Great Pompeii Project, launched in 2014 after a series of collapses threatened this Unesco site.
Presenting the reopening of the domus, Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said the management of the EU funds is “a model for all of Europe.”
The preservation of the second floor makes the House of the Lovers unique among the domuses in Pompeii, the ancient Roman city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.
It is not known who the house belonged to.