Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Raylway museum of Pietrarsa

The first railway in the area was inaugurated by King Ferdinand II in 1839 and 150 years later the railway workshop was opened as a museum. It’s the largest of its kind in Europe and has impressive displays, including a magnificent reconstruction of the first royal train here and a line-up of later carriages, many of them lavishly gilded.
Entrance 5,00 euro


To a large extent this is due to the special circumstances of its interment by Vesuvius during the eruption of 79 A.D. The city was not struck by ashes and lapilli, but by a torrent of mud flooding down from the slopes of the volcano. Having solidified and becoming tufalike, it constituted for centuries the best possible defence against atmospheric agents and against illegal excavators.Towards the end of the first century B.C. the town become a resort center for the Roman aristocracy. Unlike Pompeii, Herculaneum seems a more peaceful town, especially devoted to navy and fishing with a lot of greenery and vineyards. It is said, in fact, that Herculaneum was Epicure's favorite place for his philosophical studies.
Entrance 11,00 euro

Wine cellars on Mt. Vesuvius

Vesuvian wine has been enjoyed since ancient times. Evidence of the area's delight in wine was preserved by Vesuvius' lava. It is said that even the god Bacchus found pleasure in the abundant wine and the company of those who lived at the foot of the volcano.
Ironically, while Vesuvius destroyed towns, its lava made the soil fertile. It produces dry and sweet white wines and a prized red (Terzigno, Boscotrecase, Trecase etc.). There are many wonderful wines produced with the same loving care as the ancient Romans.

Lunch and wine testing 22,00 euro for each person (minimum 5 persons).

Monday, October 27, 2008


Mt. Vesuvius is the best known volcano on earth; it dominates the Bay of Naples with its characteristic cone.

It is a typical example of a volcano in a volcano made by an outer broken cone, Mt. Somma (1133 metres) with a crateric belt most of which is destroyed. In it there is a smaller cone, the Mt. Vesuvius (1281 metres), divided by lowering named Valle del Gigante (Giants Valley), a part of the ancient caldron where in a later period, perhaps during the 79 A.D. eruption, the Gran Cono (Great Cone) or Mt. Vesuvius arose. The Valle del Gigante is still divided in Atrio del Cavallo on the west and the Valle dell'Inferno on the east. The Somma's ancient crater is well preserved as far as its entire northern part is concerned, in fact in historic times it was less exposed to the volcano's devastating violence, because it was well protected by the height of the internal face that has prevented the downflow of lava on its slopes. The slopes, which vary in their steepness, are furrowed by profound radial grooves produced by the erosion of the meteoric waters. The whole section is then characterized by dikes and fringes of dark volcanic rock. The old crater edge is a stream of summits called cognoli

Villa of Poppaea, Oplontis

The Villa at Oplontis is located in the modern town of Torre Annunziata near Naples. This vast villa complex is believed to have belonged to Poppaea Sabina the wife of the Emperor Nero.
The site of the villa was first discovered in the 18th century by Francesco La Vega during the building of the Conte di Sarno canal. It was soon acquired by the State; however, owing to lack of funds the site was not systematically excavated until the 1960s. Sections of the villa complex still remain unexcavated to this day due to its proximity to the modern fabric of the town.
Originally constructed around the middle of the first century B.C. the villa was based on the design of a Roman atrium-style house. It was later extended during the reign of Nero with a large outdoor swimming pool and was undergoing restoration work when it was finally buried in the eruption of 79 AD.
The villa at Oplontis is momentous for its sheer size, as well as outdoor garden areas, pergolas and porticos, more than one hundred rooms have thus far been excavated. The rooms are themselves renowned for their sumptuous frescoes representing architecture embellished with masks, birds, baskets of flowers and fruit etc.
This study focuses on the architectural wall paintings located on the west wall of Room 23 ("triclinium"), one of a suite of well-preserved second-style frescoes. A detailed 3d model will be used to investigate its implied architecture. In addition, the whole room will be virtually reconstructed, together with hypothetical couches and reclining figures in order to analyse specific viewpoints from within the room.

Entrance 6,50 euro

Photos by William Storage http://www.rome101.com/Oplontis/Misc/


This ancient city at the foot of Vesuvius was quite prosperous in Roman times. It was destroyed in 79 A.C., following the famous volcanic eruption which covered it with a layer of pumice and ash. The first archaeological explorations took place towards the mid-18th century, and excavations soon began in earnest, but not until 1860 were they conducted in an orderly, systematic fashion. It is thought that, to date, about three-fifths of the ancient town has been excavated. Pompeii is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, because it provides a complete picture of the topography and life of a Roman town.

Walk with us through ancient streets to visit the Villa of the Mysteries, the House of the Faun and of the Vettii brothers. Discover baths, basilicas, temples, theatres, private homes, the amphitheater, even the palestra where gladiators trained for the arena.
Entrance 11,00 euro

Villa Arianna and Villa San Marco in Stabiae

Among roman villas found at Stabiae, the most famous are Villa San Marco and Villa Arianna. Villa San Marco is one of the largest villas ever discovered in Campania, measuring more than 11,000 square meters.This villa is also important because it has provided us with beautiful frescoes, sculptures, mosaics, and architecture, which show styles and themes comparable to those found in Pompei and Herculaneum.
Villa Arianna gets its name from the fresco depicting Dionysus saving Ariadne from a desert island.This villa is particularly famous for its frescoes, many of which depict light, winged figures. It is difficult to get a clear sense of this villa, however, because it grew over the course of 150 years. This villa has one of the largest courtyards of any Roman villa, which measures two stadium lengths.Another interesting feature of Villa Arianna is its private tunnel system that connects its location on the ridge to the sea shore, which was probably only between 100-200 meters away from the bottom of the hill. The shoreline has since changed, making the archaeological site further inland than it was in antiquity.
Entrance free

Photos of Stabiae(Castellammare di Stabia)Villa San Marco and Villa Arianna

Photos by William Storage and Laura Maish