Fodor's Expert Review Oplontis

Oplontis (Torre Annunziata) Archaeological Site/Ruins

For those overwhelmed by the throngs at Pompeii, a visit to the site of Oplontis offers a chance for contemplation and intellectual stimulation. What has been excavated so far of the Villa of the Empress Poppaea covers more than 7,000 square meters (75,000 square feet), and because the site is bound by a road to the west and a canal to the south, its full extent may never be known. Complete with porticoes, a large peristyle, a pool, baths, and extensive gardens, the villa is thought by some to have been a school for young philosophers and orators.

Unlike Herculaneum and Pompeii, no skeletons were found here, leading scholars to conclude that the villa had been abandoned after the earthquake of AD 62 and was undergoing restructuring pending sale to another owner. You have to visit to appreciate the full range of Roman wall paintings; one highlight is found in Room 5, a sitting room that overlooked the sea. Here a painted window depicts the sanctuary of Apollo, while off to the... READ MORE

For those overwhelmed by the throngs at Pompeii, a visit to the site of Oplontis offers a chance for contemplation and intellectual stimulation. What has been excavated so far of the Villa of the Empress Poppaea covers more than 7,000 square meters (75,000 square feet), and because the site is bound by a road to the west and a canal to the south, its full extent may never be known. Complete with porticoes, a large peristyle, a pool, baths, and extensive gardens, the villa is thought by some to have been a school for young philosophers and orators.

Unlike Herculaneum and Pompeii, no skeletons were found here, leading scholars to conclude that the villa had been abandoned after the earthquake of AD 62 and was undergoing restructuring pending sale to another owner. You have to visit to appreciate the full range of Roman wall paintings; one highlight is found in Room 5, a sitting room that overlooked the sea. Here a painted window depicts the sanctuary of Apollo, while off to the left a peacock perches next to a theatrical mask. Owing to the second Pompeian style, the walls and their frescoed arches and columns seem to open out onto a scene beyond, as seen in the paintings in the triclinium (Room 6) and the cubiculum (Room 7). At the back, through a cooling garden planted with bay trees as in antiquity, is an Olympic-size swimming pool. The adjacent guest rooms, or hospitalia, display murals of the fourth Pompeian Style, dating them from AD 50 onward. With painted fruits and flowers, vegetation was guaranteed to flourish all year, and in the open viridarium (pleasure garden; Room 16) guests could compare painted flora and the odd bird with the real things. Room 21 is a Roman latrine, its ancient fittings clearly on view.

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Archaeological Site/Ruins

Quick Facts

Via Sepolcri 1
Torre Annunziata, Campania  80058, Italy

081-8575347

www.pompeiisites.org

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: €5.50 for Boscoreale only; €20 includes 3-day ticket for Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Boscoreale, From €7, €5.50 for Oplontis, Boscoreale, and Stabiae; €15 includes 3-day ticket for Oplontis, Pompeii, and Boscoreale

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