Eat. Eat some more.

Eat.  Share.
Eat some more.

Don’t Bother Trying to Reserve a Table Here….

(What's this?) Click on this "star" to bookmark your favourite food stories. To view the stories you have bookmarked, simply go to your account dashboard, and click on the "My Bookmarked Stories" link.
March 11, 2015 / European / By
Anna

Thermopolium Lucius Vetutius Placidus

This restaurant went out of business rather suddenly, two thousand years ago. August 24th, AD 79, to be precise, in the town of Pompeii, Italy. Subsequent excavations have revealed a priceless trove of data about how the Romans lived, did business, ate and all so suddenly, died as a result of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on the date above. 

 

Books have been written, movies have been made. From this critic's point of view, choose Robert Harris’s book “Pompeii” well ahead of the recent, execrable Paul W.S. Anderson movie of the same name. (God, Jon Snow….you know nothing! What were you thinking of….apart from your bank balance!) 


 The Thermopolium was a street-side, hot food eatery with internal rooms for quite posh dining as well as stand-up eating from the pavement, or maybe it even offered take-way as well. The circular holes in the counter-top above would have held food containers, while hot coals placed beneath kept the food hot. “It’s a fast-food joint”, as one American lady tourist informed all of us who had reached this part of the site. Actually, I think it was rather more than that, judging from the very substantial house which sits behind the public areas facing the street. So rather than the owner of an ancient MacDonalds or KFC, Lucius Vetutius Placidus may possibly have been a Gordon Ramsay or a Rick Stein of two millennia ago. The size of the private rooms at the back, the internal courtyard garden area and the obvious splendour of the fragments of painting that still survive remarkably well on the walls attest that this was a popular and successful business as well as a substantial home.

What food would have been on offer? It’s very difficult to say exactly, because nothing like a written menu exists. Tempting as it is to reel off a Monty Python list of delicacies like wolf’s nipple chips, otters’ noses, ocelot spleens and jaguars’ ears, it’s far more likely that the menu consisted of dishes prepared from the staple crops which we know were produced in the surrounding countryside. Cereals, barley, wheat, millet, cooked and flavoured with local olive oil, walnuts, figs, pears, onions and garlic, all of which, according to Wikipedia, have been found in ancient gardens excavated in Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum. It’s also likely that meats would have been sourced from local butcheries inside the town - sheep meat, beef, and pig meat, both domestic and wild boar, would all have been readily available. In AD 79, the sea came right to the western walls of the town and there is a substantial dockyard and shipbuilding and maintenance facility at the entrance called the Marina Gate. Obviously, fresh seafood would have formed a large part of the diet of the Pompeiians.

So did everybody die, as a result of this catastrophic event, all those years ago? We know a lot of people did. Those who had the sense to get out early might have survived, but it’s all too clear from the archeological record that most, and especially the rich property owners were reluctant to leave the trappings of their wealth and seek safety, with tragic consequences. Thermopolium Lucius Vetutius Placidus is a fascinating bridge to the past and a snap-shot of how ordinary folk lived and ate all those years ago.

Thermopolium Lucius Vetutius Placidus

Country: Italy

Province/State: Campania

City: Pompeii

Address: N/A

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: From Autostrada Naples - Salerno, take Exit Pompei Ovest. Follow the Brown signs to the site.

Phone: N/A

Website:http://www.pompeionline.n...

Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

Comment
Related Stories

Plant-Based Protein For Meatless Days

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Travel Destinations - A Foodie's Guide P...

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Ethnic Spices And Condiments - The Best ...

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

A Foodie Guide To Barcelona's Best Catal...

Spanish / By
ETG - Food For Thought

15 Delicious Summer Salads

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

AS SEEN ON

ABC Nine Com 6PR
Copyright © 2012-2017 Eat the Globe™ - All rights reserved

Related Stories

Plant-Based Protein For Meatless Days

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Travel Destinations - A Foodie's Guide P...

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Ethnic Spices And Condiments - The Best ...

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

A Foodie Guide To Barcelona's Best Catal...

Spanish / By
ETG - Food For Thought

15 Delicious Summer Salads

International / By
ETG - Food For Thought

AS SEEN ON

Copyright © 2012-2017 Eat the Globe™ - All rights reserved
Login to Eat The Globe
Username
Password
   Cancel
Close
Your profile is incomplete.
Simply complete your profile, it only takes 1 minute.
Button
Email this story to a friend
Close
Invalid Email format
Send Friend Request to this person
Close
Invalid Email format
Your Friend Request has been sent.