When was street food born?

Almost 2000 years ago, in 79 A.D. in Italy, near Naples, the eruption of Vesuvius buried with ashes the cities of Pompei, Ercolano, Stabia and Oplontis forever. The ruins are still studied today and they keep revealing incredible scenes of everyday life.

Recently it’s been discovered a completely preserved Thermopolium. It is a kind of a shop that was very common in ancient times. As the name of Greek origin says, it was a place where drinks and hot food were served, preserved in big containers recessed into the counter. It was very similar to a modern cafe or a street food stall.

Inside the Thermopolium the archaeologists have found different objects to carry and preserve food: nine jars, a bronze bowl, two flasks and a ceramic container.


They have also made an extraordinary discovery of traces of food that used to be sold in the street. At the bottom of a wine container, for example, they have found some milled fava beans. The reason? Fava beans used to be put inside wine to improve its taste and colour. The beans were kept separated from the wine by a tile.

Not without reason, this shop was found near a square with a water tank and a nice marble fountain. It’s easy to imagine people thousands of years ago, in a sunny afternoon, sharing some lunch while walking and drinking some fresh water.