Stabiae is located near the modern Castellammare di Stabia, in an area known as Varano. Its origins date back to the VII century BC, the discovery of a necropolis from that period in the area of Madonna delle Grazie witnesses the presence of a pre urban settlement situated on the road to Nuceria. In the V century BC Stabiae was a Samnite centre, although we have limited information until the III century BC when, during the II Punic War, as remembered by Silio Italico, it had an important role fighting on the side of Rome, providing its supporting army. In 89 BC it was conquered and destroyed by Silla and its territory was probably annexed to Nuceria. Then it developed again as a holiday resort.
The excavations started in 1749 when Charles III of Bourbon ordered Rocco Gioacchino d’Alcubierre to explore the area. After a decade of neglect caused from the concentration of resources on the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum, proper excavations started again and a series of objects and paintings were found, contributing to enlargement the royal collection.
The settlement included a number of residential villas such as Villa San Marco, built during the Augustan era measuring a total size of 11,000 square metres of which only 6,000 have been brought to light. Villa of Arianna, whose name comes from a painting found in the triclinium with an image of Arianna abandoned by Teseo at Nasso. It was brought to light between 1757 and 1762 under the direction of Karl Weber and it also covered an area of 11,000 square metres of which only 2,500 have been excavated. It presents an articulated plan that has been developed in successive eras with many outdoor and indoor areas, among which a thermal quarter, gardens, service rooms, and also a stable and a fish shop. It is connected through a narrow passage to another building called Secondo Complesso.
The presence of other villas is certain, they are called Villa Pastore, villa of Anteros, villa of Heraclo and villa of Petraro, and nevertheless they are still partially or entirely covered. The coastal panoramic villas were connected to the coast by stairs whose steps were partially found. During the eruption the villas were under maintenance work because of the violent earthquake in 62 AD.
Libero D’Orsi started systematic excavations in the 1950, until that time there were only scattered finds in Stabiae.
It has been closed since the end of the 1990s, and it still without a permanent location. It was first opened in 1958 in the ground rooms of the state Scuola Media Stabiae, for the will of its headmaster Libero D’Orsi that loved archaeology. In 1950, the excavations started again and the Antiquarium arrived to contain up to 8,000 findings. There were 11 rooms with a collection of frescoes, vases, gravestones, statues, and other objects from the otium villas of the area.
Among the numerous villas of Stabiae archeological residential area, can be visited only the Villa San Marco and Villa Arianna. The air line distance between them is about 500 meters, but you need to travel a distance of approximately 1200 meters to move from one to another.
The antiquarium is currently closed to the public.
Tour Price: 60 €/hour (minimum 2 hours)
Tour type: Archaeology and History tour; Private tour; Walking tour.
Duration: 2 hours; 2,5 hours
Running days: Every day
Maximum travelers: 14 (a small group guarantee a service of better quality) Tours for larger groups can be arranged on demand.
Main attractions: The tour starts at the Villa San Marco, perfectly preserved, where are still evident in the hall, the kitchens, the peristyle with a long natatio various frescoed rooms and thermal quarter in which the extraordinary caldarium is well preserved with the structures used for heating. Then is planned the transfer to the Villa Arianna, whose features are a large peristyle, several decorated panoramic rooms, and a very interesting thermal area.
What’s not included: ticket
Transportation (It can be arranged with Mercedes Limousine, Mini Van or Bus; Hotel pick-up or drop-off)
Kid Friendly: Yes
Disable friendly: Yes
I can arrange an itinerary for people with reduced mobility.
Tel: +39 3284134719