Poppea's Villa

Brief history of Oplontis and its villas

Among Vesuvian archaeological sites, buried following the dramatic eruption in 79 A.D., Oplontis is probably the one that offers the most significant monumental evidence of the Pompeii suburbs.
The group of Roman era buildings found, beginning in the Bourbon period, in the modern city of Torre Annunziata, is comparable to an actual city suburb, administratively subject to the jurisdiction of Pompeii, with its typical array of villas and a few public buildings linked by streets, similar to what has been found in Stabiae.

What is special about Oplontis, a place name found solely in the Tabula Peutingeriana, ancient map of the roads that crossed the regions of the Empire, is the presence of two monumental buildings of different purposes.
The first-the so-called Villa of Poppea-was a grandiose and luxurious residential complex; the second, the Villa of L. Crassius Tertius (currently not open to the public), was a business center around processing agricultural products, particularly wine and oil.
In addition, an uncovered spa in Punta Oncino confirms the hypothesis that Oplontis was a small town, thus also containing public buildings.

The Villa of Poppea, brought to light between 1964 and 1984, is the most classic example of an “otium”* villa, built near the coast where-also due to the healthy climate-those who lived there could recover in body and spirit far from the hectic lifestyle of the capital. Adorned with spectacular painted decorations in Pompeii's 2nd style*, enhanced with admirable ornaments such as the white marble sculptures that decorated its gardens and pool, the building offers all of the technological features typical of every patrician residence, whose rooms are laid out in conformity with the simplest architectural plan in the oldest part, more complex in the more recent areas.

Attributed to Poppea, wife of Nero, according to a few mentions of the Empress, the villa (the oldest part of which dates from the mid-1st cent. A.D., and was later expanded) must have been part of the extensive land holdings in possession of the imperial family along the Campania coast. After the emperor's death, the building must have been transferred to another owner, who ordered some remodelling work, still in progress at the time of the eruption.
  • Share:
  • Aggiungi a Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Live Bookmarks