Newly unveiled erotic frescoes put Pompeii brothel on the tourist map

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A LUXURIOUS brothel that once entertained wealthy clients in Pompeii has been opened as a visitor attraction after painstaking restoration.

The two-storey structure, which features erotic frescoes that leave little to the imagination, is expected to become one of the ancient city’s top draws. Officials who unveiled it yesterday emphasised that the year-long restoration had been carried out in the interests of archaeology — and to save the frescoes — rather than prurience. The brothel was named the Lupanare — from lupa (she-wolf), the colloquial Latin term for a prostitute. Prices were posted outside the building, which had three entrances, and the frescoes depict the sexual services on offer.

The Lupanare boasted ten rooms, five on each floor, with the upper floor (which had a balcony) reserved for more important and wealthier clients. Sexual activity took place on stone beds, which would have been covered by mattresses.

Like other parts of pleasure-loving Pompeii, the brothel was overwhelmed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which buried the city in a 6m (19½ft) layer of volcanish ash in AD79. The ash preserved the city as a time capsule until the 18th century, when the first excavations began to bring to light well- preserved houses, shops, frescoes and skeletons of people caught as they tried to flee.

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