Today’s blog is R-rated with a :). It’s for mature audiences with a sense of humor. Seriously.
I’ll start by noting that the citizens of Pompeii had a slightly different take on morality than we do; um, make that a major take. Erotic art was found everywhere in the city during archeological excavations. Think ubiquitous. It was also quite explicit.
When King Frances of Naples visited a Pompeii exhibition at the National Museum with his family in 1819, he was so embarrassed by the erotic art that he locked it away in a secret cabinet. Ever since, the collection has had a history of on-again, off-again exposure.
Today, it’s on again. Sort of. When you visit the Archeological Museum in Naples, Pompeii’s erotic art is stored in the Gabinetto Segreto, Secret Room. You may have to make an appointment to get in… not because the subject matter is XXX, (which it is) but because the exhibit is the most visited site in the museum.
Similarly, in Pompeii, the Lupanare is included on every tour group’s must-see list. Our guide warned us that visiting the brothel was an adult activity. She also told us we weren’t allowed to linger. Our tour was to be a quickie, so to speak. We had five minutes. Other groups were waiting.
The brothel was called the Lupanare because its working ladies were called lupe or she wolves. They were called lupe because they were not allowed to solicit in the normal way. It wasn’t “Hey, sailor, looking for a good time?” It was more like “woof, woof, woooooo.”
Once inside, guests were treated to a series of paintings that graphically portrayed the various services available… and costs. Sailors weren’t noted for being literate. Each woman a small cubicle with a stone bed.
Graffiti was found on the walls. Those who could write were invited to evaluate their experience. It was basic. “Sollemnes, you S**** well!” one proclaimed. Apparently, she received a four-star rating.
In Naples we followed up with a visit to the Secret Room. I found the exhibition much more humorous than erotic. I mean, how can you take a flying penis with bells on seriously?
NEXT BLOG: Back to a G-rated look at Pompeii.