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Regio II - Insula VI - Casa del Soffitto Dipinto (II,VI,5-6)

The House of the Painted Ceiling has been dated to the reign of Hadrian (opus latericium). The west half, on Via delle Corporazioni, consists of five shops (II,VI,5). The fourth shop from the north was a bar (6.85 x 4.45 metres). A staircase in the south-east corner led to the living quarters of the innkeeper. To the left of the entrance is a bar counter with a water basin, with a small marble overflow basin in front.

The east half of the building, on Via della Fontana, is a medianum apartment, the House of the Painted Ceiling (II,VI,6). The apartment was entered from a corridor in the south part. To the north of this corridor are two staircases that were entered from the street, and led to independent apartments. Originally the ground floor apartment included the first upper floor, which could be reached along an internal staircase, to the west of room 1. In the second half of the second century the entrance to the staircase was blocked. Rooms 4 and 5 became a separate unit. A thin partition wall created room 3.

In room 1 paintings have been preserved on all walls. They have been dated to the reign of Commodus. The socle has floral motifs. The middle zone has red and yellow panels, surrounded by wide green bands, separated by cream and pink fluted columns, with blue capitals. They support spheres and kantharoi. On the panels are dancing Dionysiac figures. The upper zone contains architectural vistas, and a figure standing on a podium. The paintings continued on the ceiling. In room 2 are paintings that belong to the reign of Antoninus Pius or Commodus. On a yellow background are architectural motifs in white and red, dolphins, and small panels with landscapes. Room 3 was also a yellow room.

At the south end are two more shops.

Plan of the house

Plan of the house.
After SO I.

Photographs and drawings



The south wall of room 1. From Falzone 2001, fig. 3.


The west wall of room 1. Photograph: Sopr. Arch. di Ostia, D 1292.


The north wall of room 1. Photograph: Sopr. Arch. di Ostia, A 1935.


Room 2 seen from the east. Photograph: Simon Bakker.


Detail of a small landscape in room 2. Photograph: Eric Taylor.


Reconstruction drawing of the facade of the apartment, along Via della Fontana,
seen from the north-east. From Gismondi 1923, fig. 25.

[jthb - 28-Nov-2003]