Stabiae – Villa San Marco and Villa Arianna


Ancient Stabiae, founded between the 7th and 6th centuries BC, was one of the places chosen by the aristocracy and Roman Imperials, who built their large luxury villas in a panoramic position on the edge of Varano hill. After the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, the city was buried under a blanket of lapillus and ash approximately 4 metres deep, alongside Pompeii and Herculaneum. Unlike Pompeii and Herculaneum, however, Stabiae returned to life very soon and became famous for the healing properties of its thermal spring water.

Guided Visit of Villa San Marco
This villa, deriving its name from a chapel located close by in the 18th century, was built in the northeastern area of Varano Hill, 50 meter above sea level. In Bourbon times, it was the first site to be explored in the course of excavations carried out between 1749 and 1754 and was built in a period between the Ages of Augustus and Claudio Nerone.
You will visit the different rooms of the villa; the atrium, the thermal area, the lower and upper peristyle and admire the wonderful frescos, partially undamaged, and the precious mosaics and plastering, which decorated the ninfeo area with a wonderful natural frame.

Guided Visit of Villa Arianna
Named for the fresco which decorated the back wall of Triclinium, Villa Arianna is located on the edge of Varano Hill, and is the oldest Villa of ancient Stabiae. It was excavated quickly and completely during the Bourbon Age, between 1757 and 1762.
It’s oldest part of the villa dates back to the early 1st Century BC.
You will visit the different parts of the villa: the atrium, the thermal area, the Triclinium and the peristyle area. You will appreciate the wonderful wall decorations of 3rd and 4th Century style with its refined detail and enjoy a spectacular view of the beautiful Bay of Naples.

Lecture on The Sites of Stabiae
This lecture will explore the history of the archaeological sites of Stabiae, from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD which buried it completely alongside Pompeii and Herculaneum, until the first excavations carried out in 1700 by the Bourbons.
Particular attention will be paid to the otium villas built on Varano Hill between 1st Century BC and 1st Century AD, focusing on Villa San Marco and Villa Arianna, where the rich Roman patricians once lived.