House of Julia Felix

 House of Julia Felix Pompeii


Location: Regio II

Insula 4

House of Julia Felix  House of Julia Felix

Julia Felix or Julia "The Fortunate One" was a rich Roman woman who owned this splendid residence that took the whole block of Pompeii. Julia Felix was lucky enough to be born in a rich and influential family. Along with her famous name she inherited a large fortune.


House of Julia Felix PompeiiAt the time of its construction Mansion of Julia Felix was well furnished and beautifully decorated. Various statues around the house gave the residence its stylish appearance. However the villa was badly damaged in an earthquake of 62 AD just a decade before the final destruction of Pompeii. Inventive and smart women quickly used her private property to rent out to the locals those houses and business were completely destroyed by this natural disaster. She quickly increased her fortunate through extra income to become a prominent public figure in Pompeii.


Graffiti on the facade of House of Julia Felix states:

To let, for the term of five years, from the thirteenth day of next August to the thirteenth day of the sixth August thereafter, the Venus bath, fitted up for the best people, shops, rooms over shops, and second-story apartments in the property owned by Julia Felix, daughter of Spurius.


Her residence was first discovered in 1755, but it was completely explored only in the 20th century. Unfortunately, no one knew that the voids preserved the forms of the dead people, so no one poured plaster into the voids in the territory of this beautiful villa. We don't know how many people perished on that day or whether Julia Felix was among them.


Archaeologists discovered an interesting heating system underneath its floors. Heated water would flow underneath the residents of the apartment thus conducting heat inside rooms of the villa during colder winter months. Additionally they discovered a nymphaem or a grotto of nymphs with a water stair fountain. It was probably a favorite place for Julia to relax and escape loud street of busy urban life. In the corner of the garden of the House of Julia Felix there were baths for Julia herself and her guests. Judging by the inscription mentioned above, this bath had the romantic name of Baths of Venus.

House of Julia Felix Pompeii  House of Julia Felix Pompeii


The walls in the house of Julia Felix were almost completely covered with frescoes. They also showed small merchants and the lifestyle of Pompeian citizens in everyday life at the forum. The tablinum, overlooking the large garden to the east and with its particularly beautiful paintings, must have been spectacular.

The summer triclinium and the baths were among the most extravagant areas of the house used by tenants. The dining room was elegant and welcoming, with a view of the gardens with small pools and waterfalls, it resembled that of the most wealthy citizens of Pompeii, who owned villas in the countryside and on the coast.

The fully equipped and elegant bathrooms were intended only for distinguished citizens of Pompeii. They were probably well used, since most of the public baths in Pompeii were closed for repair work after the damage caused by the earthquake in 62 AD. In the large garden at the back, fruit trees stood in large squares surrounded by low wooden fences.



The earliest known excavation was carried out in 1755 by order of the King of Naples, under the direction of Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre and his assistant Karl Jakob Weber, and was essentially a treasure hunt, focused on finding valuable objects and paintings for the collection of the Bourbons in the Royal Palace of Portici. Subsequently, the excavation was closed again. Weber had drawn a plan of the buildings and noted where objects or paintings had been removed.

Mary Beard describes the consequences of the excavation as follows: "A large room in this complex (a courtyard or atrium of just over 9 x 6 m) was decorated with a frieze at a height of 2.5 m, on which the painter apparently wanted to depict scenes from life on the Pompeian forum. The frieze was discovered by 18th-century excavators, who brought eleven meters of it to the museum in small fragments, leaving only a few fragments on the wall. What happened to the rest and how big the frieze was at all (it is only a guess that it once stretched around the entire room) is beyond our knowledge. But with some certainty, large parts fell victim to the rough excavation techniques of that time.“

During another excavation in the years 1912 to 1935, a shrine and the facade of the building were exposed on the side facing Via dell'abbondaza.

Between 1998 and 1999, some of the most important discoveries were made; a nymphaeum or a nymph grotto with a water stairwell and triclinium was a modification after the earthquake of 62 AD and

House of Julia Felix Pompeii