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BOSCOREALE (and Boscotrecase) Campania, Italy.

Subdivisions of Torre Annunziata lying N and NW of Pompeii. Here a series of villas was excavated between 1894 and 1903, following the discovery of the Boscoreale Treasure of gold coins, jewelry, and silver tableware in the “Pisanella Villa.” The silver (103 pieces now in the Louvre) included a patera, with an allegorical figure of Alexandria, and 16 cups, two of which are decorated with skeletons. Besides the treasure, many bronze furnishings and utensils were found, some of which are in Berlin; others, with parts of the decoration in the Fourth Pompeian Style, are in the Field Museum in Chicago.

The villa was a villa rustica producing oil, and grain, and enough wine to have two presses and 82 dolia in the court for fermentation. An apartment for the owner may have been arranged in an upper story; except for a single big triclinium in which were remains of couches, the ground floor was given over to the necessities of the farm. The plan of the villa and most of its companions varies from Vitruvius' prescription for such buildings (6.5.3) in having no atrium complex and it treats the peristyle as a utility courtyard around which other units are grouped in convenient blocks.

The Villa of Fannius Synistor of mid 1st c. B.C. is famous for its Second Style decorations, the most important a cubiculum with large architectural vistas, now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and an oecus, divided between the Metropolitan and the Museo Nazionale, Naples, painted with large figures whose interpretation is much disputed. Pieces from other rooms are widely scattered, and several disappeared after they were sold in Paris in 1903. Most of these are architectural decorations restricted in their development of the illusion of depth. Here only the living quarters around a peristyle were thought worth excavating, so the villa adds little to our knowledge of working farms, but it shows evidence of having been a big villa and an extensive property.

So little of the Villa of Agrippa Postumus at Boscotrecase was excavated, and the loss of the rest in the eruption of 1906 was so final, that one can only speculate about its magnificence. One suite of rooms has provided us with Third Style decorations that rank among the finest known; the varied treatment of landscape is particularly interesting. These are now divided between the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Museo Nazionale, Naples.

Of the other villas, in Contrada Centopiedi al Tirone, in Piazza Mercato, and in Contrada Giuliana, only the last was more than sampled. Built late and decorated in the Fourth Style, it belongs in architecture and arrangements with the Pisanella Villa. Parts of its decorations are in the British Museum.


R. Héron de Villefosse, Le Trésor de Boscoreale (MonPiot 5, Fasc. 1 & 2, 1899); A. Mau, tr. F. W. Kelsey, Pompeii: Its Life and Art (2d ed., 1902) 361-66; H. F. DeCou & F. B. Tarbell, Antiquities from Boscoreale in the Field Museum of Natural History (Field Museum Publication 152, Chicago 1912); P. W. Lehmann, Roman Wall Paintings from Boscoreale in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1953); P. H. v. Blanckenhagen & C. Alexander, The Paintings from Boscotrecase (RömMitt Supplementband 6, 1962).


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