Luxury villas by the sea for the high class Romans
After a couple of years a since the first trip to Naples and Pompeii we decided to come back and visit on this occasion some more of the greatest Roman cities that were buried on the same catastrophic 79 AD Mount Vesuvius eruption; Stabiae, Oplontis and Ercolano. And for the future, there are some other places worth to spare some time to enjoy with other Roman villas uncovered, yet for now, with these bunch of ancient cities and villas to see, the entire weekend would be for that only getting back to Naples to sleep and for some nice dinner.
Needless to say that coming to Naples has more excuses. First, Naples itself; I really like it against what most people say that if either is ugly or dangerous. Nonsense comments; it has so much to see and do that even a weekend is too short. Of course I am talking about the prettiness of the old town, don’t just misjudge the city for the ugly and pretty much run down quarters around it. Then the incredible food and the low prices overall for everything. The best pizzas ever I’ve eaten have been here. Then some of the finest and best preserved Roman era cities and monuments, and the incredible countless villages along the Amalfi and Sorrentine coasts, and of course, the idyllic and posh islands of Capri and Ischia. With Naples you can never be wrong, and there’s always many reasons to return.
Both Stabiae and Oplontis are not cities as such but instead some of the most luxurious Roman villas across the entire southern region of the once glorious Roman Empire. The frescoes among the best preserved and so their entire structure.
How to get there
The trip from Naples to Stabiae is around 50 minutes. The best and easiest way is by taking the Circumvesuviana trains. Very frequent, running until late at night. They operate from the lower level of the main train station at Piazza Garibaldi or Porta Nolana station which is the end of the line.
Be sure you are on a train with direction to Sorrento and get off at Castellanmare di Stabia for the villas of Stabiae; while you can take a train towards Sorrento or Poggiomarino stopping at Torre Anunziata for the villa of Oplontis.
The site is opene from 08:30am to 17:00pm during winter months and extended to 18.30pm during summer months. For the best and official information check their webiste here, with prices for each of the sites or combined tickets should you wish to visit more than one site.
In any case it’s easier to resume you the information based on our visit. Both villas at Stabiae are free of charge. You will need sign in your name and nationality at the guest book by the entrance booth. As opposed, the villa at Oplontis costs 5.5 Euros, or for 20 Euros you can purchase a ticket that gives you access to 5 different sites including Pompeii, Oplontis, Stabiae and Boscoreale.
How to visit the site
Reaching both villas in Oplontis was not easy. There are no signs at all once you leave the train station and even locals seemed not to know what we were talking when we asked them for directions. Thankfully Google maps took us right there. You will need to type Scavi di Stabia and it will take you right there. You will need still to walk between both villas on the road, with no signs whatsoever and wondering if you are walking the right way. Yes you do.
Don’t miss any of the two villas here, named as Villa San Marco and Villa Arianna. San Marco is by far the best preserved.
As for Oplontis, only one villa is excavated, Villa Poppea, which is in turn the finest and most luxurious villa you will get to see from all, including those at Pompeii and Ercolano. Poppea is still the largest of them all with incredible paintings decorating every room.
Luckily in this case, once you get off the train station you will see the signs immediately pointing to the right location, just some meters down the road.
As this is for anyone a day or half day trip from Naples or other cities nearby such as Sorrento, there is no place I could recommend you other than our already large experience in Naples, our base city every time we fly to this region. The guide contains a good bunch of hotels we’ve been and of course, a fantastic listing of every sight.