Pompeii, Italy

Thermopolium of Vetutius Placidus

Serving drinks and hot food (the source of their Greek name) Thermopolia were peculiar and very popular in Roman times (89 of them have been found in Pompeii only ).

Back then, like today, it was quite normal to eat lunch on the go. A Thermopolium consisted of a room opening onto the road, having a stone countertop -often decorated- with built-in recesses for food receptacles and rooms at the back with seats for customers to eat in.

The Thermopolium of Vetutius Placidus houses also a lararium (a shrine to the Lar Familiaris, protectors of the house); it is a small stuccoed and frescoed niche housing images of the Genius (the spirit of the house, here portrayed as the owner) flanked by the Lari: Mercury, the god of trading, and Dionysus the god of wine. In this instance, the shop had also a house annexed.