GOOD, OLD-FASHIONED PORN

Posted on September 26, 2011 by

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When the ancient Roman town of Pompeii in southern Italy was first excavated in the 18th century, scholars were shocked by the sheer volume of erotic imagery they uncovered – putting the site squarely on the tourist trail for generations of connoisseurs of pornography to come (as I discuss in The Sinner’s Grand Tour).

Today, visitors to the site in southern Italy should not miss the so-called “lupanar” (wolf-house, Latin slang for brothel), which was unearthed in 1865: Its walls are covered with eye-popping frescos demonstrating the sexual specialty of each girl that worked there.

Afterwards, check to see whether the Suburban Baths are open.  (They usually aren’t, but I gave an attendant a “tip” to show me around).  Only discovered in the 1980s, the building became notorious amongst scholars for its dirty murals, including lesbian and orgy scenes that are almost unique in ancient Roman art.

Frolicsome Romans in the Suburban Baths.

But Europe’s biggest selection of pagan erotica is actually in the illustrious Gabinetto Segreto (Secret Cabinet) of the Archaeology Museum in Naples.  When it was created in 1816, the room was once considered so morally dangerous that it was kept off-limits to the public.  The doors were only opened in 2000 (and women were only allowed in under duress).

Remember to ask for a separate timed ticket to the Gabinetto Segreto at the museum entrance – and by the way, minors under 18 are still forbidden.

The Secret Cabinet of Naples today.

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