Villa Poppaea | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Villa Poppaea

Torre Annunziata, Campania, Italy

Sarah Roller

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Villa Poppaea

Villa Poppaea contains the remains of a grand ancient Roman residence in the Oplontis site, near Pompeii in Italy.

History of Villa Poppaea

Dating back to the 1st century AD, Villa Poppaea was expanded in the Claudian era and was believed to have belonged to Poppaea Sabina, the second wife of the emperor Nero. However, when it was excavated, archaeologists found no furnishings or bodies in Villa Poppaea, indicating that it was uninhabited in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted, shrouding it in mud and ash. Instead, on the day of the eruption, it is thought that Villa Poppaea was undergoing renovations to fix damage caused to it by frequent earthquakes in the area.

The villa is what’s known as an otium villa – one built specifically for rest and relaxation, kind of like a holiday home today. The huge swimming pool and rich wall paintings pay testament to this fact.

Villa Poppaea today

Today, Villa Poppaea sits in the modern town of Torre Annunziata and is the only part of the Oplontis site open to the public. Villa Poppaea is magnificent both in terms of its large size and because of the beautiful marble sculptures and frescos which it contains. Only the eastern part of Villa Poppaea is fully excavated, the western half lying under the modern city.

Villa Poppaea is the only part of Oplontis open to the public at the moment. Look out for the gorgeous replanted gardens, which were designed to replicate what the pre-eruption gardens might have looked like. Excavations showed what trees would have been planted in the area.

Getting to Villa Poppaea

The villa is in the centre of Torre Annunziata, a 5 minute walk away from the train station. The main road from Naples to Salerno runs close by – it’s about a 25 minute drive from Naples, traffic dependent.

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