Visitor and background information for the excavations at Stabiae.
This is tickitaly.com's information page for the excavations at Stabiae, one of the many attractions covered by the Pompeii and Vesuvius area pass (booking link).
The excavations and remains at Stabiae are open seven days a week from 08.30 in the morning. During Summer (April to October) the site will close at 19.30, during Winter closing time is 17.00.
Your Pompeii pass allows full entrance to the excavations at Stabiae and counts as a single entrance, just one of the 12 places covered by your pass.
Stabiae is the ancient name for Castellammare di Stabia. An important settlement as far back as the 8th century BC, Stabiae's high point in terms of population came in the 150 years before the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. It was during this period that many impressive villas were built on the headland overlooking the Bay of Naples, and according to Pliny the Elder the area became a popular resort for wealthy Romans. This was in fact where Pliny died when he crossed the Bay of Naples to observe the effects of the eruption and to rescue people stranded on the coast.
The archaeological remains of Stabiae were discovered and first excavated in the second half of the 18th century by Spanish engineer Cavaliere Rocco de Alcubierre and the Swiss Karl Weber, but they were subsequently reburied and their location forgotten until 1950. Within 12 years a large proportion of the remains had again been brought to the light, and they now provide some of the finest examples of Roman architecture and art.
The most famous are the villas that were built in the century before Vesuvius' eruption, some of them the luxurious and sumptuously decorated holiday homes of wealthy Romans, while smaller villas inland appear to have been occupied as working farms. Many artefacts from here can now be found in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. Also on the site was discovered a necropolis with 300 tombs dating back to the 7th - 3rd centuries BC when there would appear to have been first an Oscan and then a Samnite settlement nearby.
The most famous of the many residential villas that were built in this wonderful panoramic position are Villa San Marco, Villa Arianna and Villa del Pastore.
Villa San Marco is one of the largest villas to have been excavated in this region and covers over 11,000 square metres. With its courtyards with views over the bay and countryside, the atrium, internal gardens and bathing complex and numerous rooms it offers a splendid insight into Roman life - and the surviving examples of architecture, mosaics, sculpture and frescoes are superb and of major interest.
Villa Arianna is notable for its stunning frescoes and its enormous courtyard, and there is a private tunnel system leading to the seashore.
The enormous (over 19,000 square metres) Villa del Pastore has not yet been fully excavated but its form suggests that it was not a private residence but perhaps a health spa where people would come to enjoy the famous Stabiae waters. It consists of many large rooms and baths but does not seem to have rooms of a residential nature.
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