The Pompeii fast-food restaurant discovered in 2019 opens to the public | Archeology

An old thermopolium, or fast food restaurant, which was unearthed in Pompeii in 2019 will open to the public this week.

The frescoed relic, which had been preserved by ash from the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 74, was found at Regio V, a 21.8 hectare (54 acre) site north of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, near the Bay of Naples in southern Italy. .

Archaeologists also uncovered a polychrome marble floor as well as bone remains of ducks, pigs, goats, fish and snails in terracotta pots, suggesting to researchers that one of the dishes at the menu was a kind of paella.

A painting is restored with thermopolium. Photograph: Luigi Spina / AP

Dozens more thermopolished were found throughout the archaeological park. The snack bars were mainly used by the poorer residents of ancient Pompeii who rarely had a kitchen in their homes. Typical menus included coarse bread with salted fish, baked cheese, lentils and spicy wine.

Along with a visit to thermopolium, visitors will be able to spot two mansions – Casa di Orione and Casa del Giardino – which were also found in the Regio V and are being restored.

Regio V, which is not yet fully open to the public, has been the most intensive excavation of the site since the 1960s.

A worker cleans a mosaic in a house next to the thermopolium which will also open.
A worker cleans a mosaic in a house next to the thermopolium which will also open. Photograph: Cesare Abbate / EPA

Other finds at Regio V in recent years include the perfectly preserved remains of two men who are believed to have died while fleeing the eruption of Vesuvius. In August 2019, archaeologists discovered a “sorcerer’s treasure” with relics, including crystals, bone buttons, glass beads and mirrors.

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