In our previous escapade through Pompeii here, we delved deep into the city’s heart, touching its very soul. Yet, Pompeii still holds secrets waiting to be unraveled. One such gem is “The Fullonica of Stephanus.”
The Fullonica’s grand unveiling
Unearthed between 1912 and 1914, along the bustling Via dell’Abbondanza, the Fullonica of Stephanus stands as a stellar testament to Roman architectural and functional prowess. Not just any laundry, it’s among the most complete and elaborate laundries excavated in Pompeii.
Witnessing history through its structure
Step inside, and intricate masonry basins crafted specifically for rinsing greet you. Their design ensured an unending flow of water, vital for the operations. Alongside, stone basins dominate; they were once used for meticulous washing, often accompanied by specialized clays or urine. On ascending to the upper floor, terraces lay sprawled, where fabrics once danced in the breeze, drying and awaiting further treatment.
But what truly sets this fullonica apart? The pièce de résistance – the torcular. A press didn’t merely iron fabrics but transformed them into shiny masterpieces. Signs of this ancient pressing machine’s grandeur, the torcular, still linger, with the preserved iron rails of the screw beams and the housings affixed to the wall, telling tales of its once-glorious past.
A Glimpse into the Fullones’ World
In the nearby Fullonica of L. Veranius Hypsaeus, vivid oil illustrations reveal a day in the life of the fullones. Every step is detailed, from washing and rinsing clothes with their feet to drying and brushing them. Intriguingly, some depictions show individuals carrying a cage crowned with an owl – a symbol of Minerva, the labor’s patron goddess – used for sulfur bleaching treatments. The final steps involve showcasing the garments to their rightful owners and preparing for the torcular’s finishing touch, with fabrics poised and ready.
Embark on Your Journey
Pompeii’s stories are endless, and each corner whispers tales of a bygone era. Ready to delve deeper? Find our best tours in Pompeii here and let the ancient city reveal its secrets.