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Ancient Pompeii house shows what life was like before volcano erupted

After being restored for 20 years, the House of Vettii in the Pompeii Archeological Park has been given new life. The house in what is now southern Italy probably belonged to two former enslaved men who became rich through trade. This restoration offers visitors an opportunity to see what life was like in Pompeii before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 buried the city.

Andrew Medichini/AP

A view of the Room of the Cupids at the House of Vettii, which opened its doors to visitors Wednesday after 20 years of restoration. “The House of the Vetti is like the history of Pompeii and actually of Roman society within one house,” said Gabriel Zuchtriegel, director of Pompeii Archeological Park. (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

The living room, called the Hall of Pentheus, frescoes show scenes from Greek mythology. One depicts Hercules as a child crushing two snakes. Zuchtriegel said the frescoes were the owners way of saying, ‘We’ve made it and so we are part of this elite’” of the Roman world. (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

Columns surround the courtyard, which is in the center of the House of Vettii. (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

A detail from the dining room, called Hall of Ixium, in the house. In ancient times, the house would have been called a domus. (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

The courtyard is reflected in the water of a basin. (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

A cat crosses the a place where ancient Romans used to pray to the household gods in the House of Vettii. (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

A detail of the fresco, or mural, that covers the walls of the Room of the Cupids. Arianna Spinosa, Pompeii’s architect director of restoration work, said the Vettii is an excellent example of a Pompeian domus “not only because of the frescoes of exceptional importance, but also because of its layout and architecture.” (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)