From Stabiae to Herculaneum: a journey in the most charming locations of the “Campania Felix”


Castellammare, Oplontis, Boscoreale and much more: a surprising archaeological tour of the Vesuvian area.


If the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum are famous worldwide for their size and their unique citadels remained crystallized to a precise date in history, AD 79, in which mount Vesuvius buried them under a thick blanket of ash, there are also more not-to-be-missed appointments with history for archaeology aficionados, maybe less known but extraordinary all the same.
Travelling from Sorrento, the first site to be met is that of ancient Stabiae, located on the northern side of Varano, a hill in Castellammare di Stabia. Three panoramic villas can be visited here which overlook the underlying town, but in the 1st century AD they overlooked the sea and the beach could be reached by means of tunnels and walkways. They are luxurious residences with vast and wonderfully decorated living quarters, thermal structures, arcades and nymphaea.
Pompeii can be found just after Castellammare, though the city’s ancient suburb was part of Boscoreale, where a number of rustic villas and productive settlements linked to pasture and wine and oil production.
Among these findings only wall and floor decorations and ornaments can be found today at the Louvre, the Metropolitan or Naples’ Museo Archeologico Nazionale, but it is still possible to visit the rustic Villa located in Villa Regina with its Antiquarium.
After Boscoreale visitors arrive in Torre Annunziata, ancient Oplontis, where the only place that can be visited is Villa di Poppea, named “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO. It is a magnificent residential building from the mid-1st century BC which was expanded in the Imperial age and owned by Poppaea Sabine, Emperor Nero’s second wife.
The archaeological site of Herculaneum, along with Pompeii and Oplontis, is also part of the World Heritage Site. A short walk from the site the MAV can be found; it is a cultural and technological centre applied to Cultural property and communication which hosts in its interior an interesting museum-like area that allows visitors to take part in an extraordinary virtual and interactive journey thanks to which, with over seventy multimedia installations, the principal archaeological areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Baia, Stabiae and Capri are brought back to their original splendour.