PLEASE, DOWNLOAD OUR MASTER PLAN
The RAS project foresees extensive new excavations of at least three villas and of part of the small initial site; greater utilization of conservation including the use of new coverings; and a visitor center, already under construction. The master plan includes the creation of a walkway along the border of the plateau, connecting the sites of the various villas and maintaining a view of the Gulf of Naples. The park will be surrounded by trees, allowing it to be seen from Pompeii and from the sea. The main junction is the Villa Arianna site, where the funicular will connect the Circumvesuviana station with the site, facilitating the transport of visitors from Pompeii to Stabiae in ten minutes. The site offers the opportunity to become a museum-park of Roman villa culture during the daytime, and an urban park and site for summer evening concerts when the villas are closed.
The Archaeological Park of Stabiae could, together with other sites in the area, created a cultural panorama of Ancient Rome: the city (Pompeii and Herculaneum), the farm (Boscoreale), and the luxury villas (Stabiae). With the excavations completed and the educational structure in place, the park will become the best place to study the phenomenon of Roman villas in its entire context.
The site has been a protected archaeological area since 1957 and is still free of modern construction. The budget for property acquisition, excavation, conservation, and construction of the park is €140 million, with 2/3 of this coming from public funds – the majority coming from the EU – and 1/3 from private funds.
A project of such scale, which would probably be the largest archaeological project in Europe, necessitates a new understanding of international archeology. The Foundation has been characterized by Prof. Pietro Guzzo, Archaeological Superintendent of Naples and Pompeii, as an experiment in sharing the management of major archaeological sites of international importance, with the intention of making this the model for future European archaeological development. The Foundation has an international committee, composed of representatives of the Superintendency, the School of Architecture of the University of Maryland, and the Municipality of Castellammare di Stabia. In addition, the Foundation is non-profit, with the ability to receive and spend private and public funds, both nationally and internationally. Finally, at the completion of the archaeological park project, the plan for marine research activities was included, with the creation of a Department of Underwater Archeology.
In 2001, €4.5 million was assigned to the Superintendency of Pompeii for RAS for a series of projects designed to quickly improve access to the sites. These include the first two excavations at Villa San Marco, a new parking area for Villa Arianna, restoration of the drainage system of Villa Arianna’s grand peristile, and a number of new conservation efforts. Other funds have come from different, mainly private, sources; for example, with a budget of €1.5 million, 60% coming from its own fundraising and 40% from ACRI (an Italian association of banking foundations), RAS is constructing the first part of a new visitor welcome center. This visitors center will host the necessary reception functions such as ticket sales, group receptions, a book store, a bar, and a learning center in which visitors will be presented with necessary information such as the progress of excavations, issues and problems associated with archaeological research, and the use of new technologies.
The first two excavations, financed by the Region of Campania and the EU in 2001, were planned by RAS by the invitation of the Superintendency of Pompeii. The excavations were started in the first months of 2006. The first opens the original entrance of Villa San Marco’s courtyard (discovered for the first time in the 18th century) and also a new entrance to the villa, creating a ramp that descends to the original Roman road in front of the villa. The second excavation will bring to light the “fountain of the nymph” that stands at the center of the minor peristyle of Villa San Marco’s courtyard. A geophysical survey in 2003 showed that the larger peristyle extends for a length of 113 meters. More recent tests have confirmed this important finding, fueling a new excavation campaign.