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A detailed view of the well–preserved lararium, a shrine dedicated to the household gods, on the wall of the Thermopolium of Vetutius Placidus. Among others Mercury, the god of trade (far left), and Dionysus (to the left of the altar), the god of wine are depicted.
Note the two snakes, symbols of fertility that are approaching an altar.
To view the Thermopolium Click Here.
83 thermopolia have been discovered at Pompeii. These were small cook–shops where hot and cold food was sold. They were used primarily by the lower classes as the elites would dine in the luxurious surroundings of their own homes. The houses of lower classes of people rarely had kitchens, thus they would eat at an establishment such as this, or they would "carry out" the food to take back home. These thermopolia were situated street side on the ground floor of apartment buildings and even elite houses.
Besides the 83 discovered at Pompeii, thermopolia have also been discovered at nearby Herculaneum and at Ostia, the port of Rome.