Villa of Poppea


Villa of Poppea was built during the 1st century B.C. and then enlarged in the Claudian age. The Villa is magnificent for its dimensions, the quality of its frescoes and the numerous marble sculptures.
The Villa was supposed to belong to Poppaea Sabina, emperor Nero's second wife, from an inscription on an amphora to Secundus, a freedman of Poppea. Indeed, the imperial family used to spend some time on the Campanian coast, as many patrician families, to enjoy the healthy climate, as shown by the sumptuous residential villas here found (otium villas).
The Villa was uninhabited at the moment of the eruption. There were neither furnishings in the rooms nor in the kitchen. Many objects found, such as columns and oil-lamps, were piled up in few rooms.
Building material and work in progress prove that they were repairing the damages caused to the Villa by one of the frequent earthquakes in the Vesuvian area.
The building lies east to west and comprises the original central section overlooking the garden, onto which were added two wings and a portico.
The original entrance and the front are not excavated and are situated beyond the 16th century artificial canal of Conte di Sarno, under the modern built-up area.
The Villa, surrounded by large gardens, has a thermal quarter and productive places, such as the one for treading grapes and producing wine.
The pictorial decoration created perspective effects and relations between the reality and the unreality, by mixing sham doors and columns with the real architecture. Details of decorations were numerous and of high quality.They represented masks, fruit baskets, torches and birds.
The Villa was originally adorned with many sculptures, prevalently Roman copies of the Hellenistic originals from the 2nd - 3rd century B.C..
The eastern side has been almost completely excavated, while part of the western side lies under a modern road and a military building, the old Real Fabbrica d'Armi.
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