chapter  30
13 Pages

Inns and taverns John DeFelice

As in many small Roman cities, Pompeii and Herculaneum had their share ofhospitality businesses. However, several of the best examples remain at Pompeii. In many of Pompeii’s insulae and around most of the city gates there were numerous taverns, inns and little restaurants to greet visitors. These probably also served Pompeii’s indigenous lower-class population as well, providing food, wine, entertainment and shelter. They were an important part of Pompeii’s economy and society.1

It is generally agreed that there are four basic categories of hospitality businesses. These include hospitia, stabula, tabernae and popinae.2 Hospitia were establishments that offered rooms for rent, and often food and drink to overnight guests. This term originally had an abstract meaning, referring to the guest/owner relationship that existed between a stranger seeking overnight accommodations and a host.3 According to Packer, hospitia appear to have been expressly fabricated for business purposes, although a number of them represent secondary uses of existing private homes in Pompeii.4