Experts Uncover A Lavish Pompeii Estate Owned By Two Former Slaves Who Became Staggeringly Wealthy

In the ruins of Pompeii, experts are restoring a once-grand mansion. Its extravagent frescoes and lavish decor are eerily frozen in time. But it’s not just the ancient architecture that’s impressive. As the property is slowly uncovered, we learn more about the men who once called it home — and it’s certainly an impressive story.

Rags to riches

At one time, the future owners of the House of the Vettii were mere slaves, destined to live in the shadow of their wealthy master. But thanks to a twist of fate, they rose to become members of Pompeii’s elite. Now wielding their own power and influence, they designed a home so ostentatious that nobody would question their new position.

The destruction of Pompeii

Years later, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed the House of the Vettii — along with all of Pompeii. And for almost two millennia, it lay buried under layers of ash and debris. Now, though, it has opened to the public after a lengthy restoration, a testament to its owners’ unlikely shifting fortunes. 


Although it’s most famous for the devastating eruption that took place in 79 A.D., the city of Pompeii actually has a long history stretching back to the eighth century B.C. First established by the Osci people of central Italy, it grew under the influence of the Greeks and Phoenicians, who established a port in the region. 

The Roman Empire

Later, the Etruscans arrived, establishing a strategic outpost in Pompeii. And for a short period of time, the city passed back into Greek control before being conquered by the Samnites in the 5th century B.C. Eventually, though, it became impossible to escape the ever-expanding influence of the Roman Empire.