Even wealthy Romans often rented out the front rooms of their houses as shops. These rooms had separate doors that opened on to the street and did not connect with the rest of the house in any way; see, for example, the exterior of this large house in Herculaneum. See also this exterior view of the front of the composite model in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology, including closer views of a shop, a wine shop, and the wine counter and shopkeeper. The actual door of the house opened into a long corridor that led into the atrium. The length of the hallway and the shops on either side served as a buffer from the noise and smells of the street.
Barbara F. McManus
revised February, 2007
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