Castellammare di Stabia
Castellammare di Stabia is situated on the Bay of Naples about 30 kilometres (19 miles) southeast of Naples, on the route to Sorrento.
The city, pleasant and modern, is one of the most important cities in Campania and it has still preserved a human quality that enthrals all the visitors. Here, the Kings of Naples, used to spend their holidays (Villa Quisisana) throughout the centuries. And some of Italy’s most famous and glorious ships (like Amerigo Vespucci), have been launched in its shipyards.
Castellammare di Stabia lies next to the ancient Roman city of Stabiae, which was destroyed by the Vesuvio eruption in AD 79. The castle the city takes its name from was erected in the 9th century on a hill commanding the southern side of the Gulf of Naples. It was restored during the reign of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen and enlarged by King Charles I of Anjou.
Thanks to its particular position, Castellammare di Stabia is privileged by its unique climatic conditions: a combination of a temperate sea, woodland and mountain climate. In fact, the City is siteude in the centre of the Gulf of Naples, at the foot of Mount Faito (1.100 m.), on the road leading to the Peninsula of Sorrento. The climate is the mild and pleasent both in summer and winter. In the hot months average temperature is around 25°C, and in the cold months around 16°C. Castellammare di Stabia was officially definded "Metropolis of Waters, Climates and Sea" during the 13th Congress of Hydrology, Climatology and Physical Therapy.
Stabiae is a land with an ancient hearth (Oscan, Samnite, Etruscan, Greek, Roman). Perhaps its name means "stop, pause, station": this would indeed mean that for thousands of years it has been acknowledged as a land of many delights. The Archaelogical Excavations (wich have brought to light imposing, elegant Roman villas) and Stabian Museum are evidence of the historical importance of the City, wich was buried, along with Herculaneum and Pompeii, by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
The Medieval Castle
The medieval castle built in the ninth century by the Duke of Sorrento in defense of the Sorrento peninsula, his possession; stands on the hill surrounded by a lush park of olive trees, overlooking the Gulf of Naples with a wonderful view of Vesuvius.
The excavation of Roman villas preserved by the Eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 is currently underway.
Among the many villas found at Stabiae, the most famous are Villa San Marco, Villa Del Pastore, and Villa Arianna. Some of the other villas include Villa Carmiano, Villa del Petraro, and Villa Capella di San Marco.
Villa San Marco
One of the largest villas ever discovered in Campania, measuring more than 11,000 square metres, it has an atrium, a courtyard containing a pool, a triclinium with views of the bay, and a colonnaded courtyard. There are also many other small rooms, a kitchen and two internal gardens. Villa San Marco also has a private bath complex that is made up of a calidarium, tepidarium, and a frigidarium. This villa is also important because it has provided frescoes, sculptures, mosaics and architecture, which show styles and themes comparable to those found in Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Villa del Pastore (Villa of the Shepherd)
This villa gets its name from a small statue of a shepherd that was discovered at this site. The villa measures even larger than Villa San Marco, coming in at 19,000 square metres. The villa was rediscovered in 1967 and includes many rooms, large baths and luxurious gardens. It lacks, however, any domestic rooms, suggesting that it may not have been a residence. One hypothesis is that this is instead a valetudinarium (health spa) that would have allowed people to take advantage of the famous spring waters of Stabiae. It has not yet been fully excavated.
Named for the fresco depicting Dionysus saving Ariadne from the island of Dia (a mythological name for Naxos), this villa is particularly famous for its frescoes, many of which depict light, winged figures. It has one of the largest courtyards of any Roman villa; measuring two stadia in length. Another feature of Villa Arianna is its private tunnel system that links the villa in its location on the ridge to the sea shore, which was probably only between 100 and 200 metres away from the bottom of the hill in Roman times. The shoreline has since changed, leaving the archaeological site further inland than it was in antiquity.