Tavola Calda

      Though not nearly as well preserved (or reconstructed) as the counter shown above, across the street from the Forum Baths stands the remains of a "fast food" shop in Pompeii. Since we often saw signs for Tavola Calda (Italian for "hot table") in Italian cities and villages, we call these shops in Pompeii tavola calda. (The archeologists call them thermopolium.) Before the eruption that buried Pompeii, these sites served the same function as the tavola calda today in Italy--a place to get a quick bite to eat. In the States we'd think of this as the McDonald's of Pompeii. Inside the holes were pottery vats filled with hot or cold drinks, soups, or whatever.

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