The opening of the restoration site of the Villa of Diomede in the Archaeological Park of Pompeii is an extraordinary event. Only 100 privileged visitors were guided by technicians and restorers of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii participating in the event entitled ”Su il sipario! Cantiere in scena”, an integral part of the “Grande Progetto Pompei”.
The Villa of Diomedes is a scenic residential complex located at the Via dei Sepolcri, near the necropolis of Porta Ercolano and not so far from the famous Villa dei Misteri.
Among the very first buildings excavated in the site of Pompeii, between 1771 and 1775, is one of the monuments most described and represented by travelers on the Grand Tour. Many are the testimonies of the ancient travelers, as suggested by the graffiti that report the names of famous visitors.
Particular case is that of the graffito in the room 59, to the North extremity of the inferior arcade of the villa: “Comte de Cavour piemont sard”. Probably the famous Camillo Benso Count of Cavour, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy, enchanted by the charm of the monument wanted to leave a trace of his passage in the Vesuvian city.
The villa owes maybe its name to Marcus Arrius Diomedes, a libertus whose tomb is located in front of the entrance. It develops scenographically on three levels opening with gardens and swimming pools towards the ancient coastline. It is one of the largest buildings in the entire city with an extension of 3500 square meters. Upon entering, one has direct access to the peristilium, around which are arranged the most important rooms of the house, such as the triclinium. One of the most beautiful spaces is the beautiful garden, in the center of which there was a triclinium covered by a pergola for summer banquets, and a swimming pool. Near the door that gave access to the service area were found two victims, one of which had a gold ring and a silver key as well as a treasury of 1356 sesterces.
The villa, a regular appointment for visitors of the Grand Tour such as Goethe, Lamartine, Stendhal and many others, was also the setting for the novel “Marcella” by Théophile Gautier.