Casa dell Gemma, Herculaneum, mosaic

Casa della Gemma, Herculaneum, now open to the public

Culture News

At the Archaeological Park of Herculaneum, Casa della Gemma is now open to the public on an experimental basis. From 26th March some of the most precious mosaics of the site are visible.

Considered a jewel of the Archaeological Park of Herculaneum, the Casa della Gemma opens to the public from March 26th. Famed for its precious floor mosaics, the building takes its name from the discovery of a gem with the image of Livia erroneously attributed to this house.

This new opportunity is the result of the experimental approach of the multidisciplinary open lab and continues until June.

Magnificent mosaics

The Casa della Gemma was once part of a single large domus overlooking the sea, probably belonging to the family of Marco Nonio Balbo. In its triclinium is one of the most beautiful, black and white geometric mosaics in in the whole of Herculaneum.

Close up of one of the mosaics in Casa della Gemma

Director Francesco Sirano says, “The insula Orientalis I, in which the Casa della Gemma is located, presents mosaics of exceptional value. With this project, which also involved the Relief Houses of Telefo, Granianus and Cervi, we have restored the most delicate mosaics of the site. Furthermore, the painstaking work in the Casa della Gemma made it possible to completely recover the floor surfaces in order to allow the visit, albeit in an experimental way.

“We are creating the conditions to widen the path in the archaeological site and share elements and spaces of the ancient city for too many years removed from the direct experience of visitors. The goal of our work is to enhance the site for an ever wider, curious and aware public of the cultural values ​​and delicacy of the UNESCO heritage.”

Site scale approach

Jane Thompson, Project Manager of the Herculaneum Conservation, recalls “the long path that today represents the opening of the Casa della Gemma. It is a nice tribute to the ‘site scale’ approach in place for over 15 years thanks to the partnership with PHI which, instead of supporting exhaustive projects on some domus, has improved and continues to improve the general conditions of the entire site.

“By working in this way,” Thompson concludes, “and thanks to restoration campaigns like this one on mosaics, we arrive at such importantresults, such as the reopening to the public of spaces that have long been closed. “

The Casa della Gemma opening hours are: Daily (except Wednesdays) 09:30 to 13:00. Access to the Casa della Gemma is for groups of up to 20 people at a time.

Ancient Herculaneum

Herculaneum, also known as Ercolano, was destroyed alongside Pompeii and other settlements on the Naples coast during the Vesuvius eruption of 79AD.

As the Herculaneum site states, the city is, “a minor city different from Pompeii, but no less important.” Whilst smaller in scale, Herculaneum provides insights into ancient Roman life.

For more information on Herculaneum and opening hours, visit the Archaeological Park of Herculaneum website.

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