Photo of Villa Poppaea

Visit Villa Poppaea

Villa Poppaea is an ancient Roman villa in the town of Torre-Annunziata between Naples and Sorrento. It is in the ancient town of Oplontis and so is sometimes called the Villa Oplontis, or Oplontis Villa A.

Along with the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum the Villa Poppaea was buried in larva during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The villa is included in the UNESCO world heritage listing of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Explore the Villa Poppaea

Italy This Way Review: The Villa Poppaea must once have been absolutely magnificent and a visit to see the well preserved frescoes and the vast scale of the villa is a good complement to a visit to Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The size and quality of this villa and its decorations have led to the assumption that the Villa Poppaea belonged to Emperor Nero himself. The finding of a shard of pottery with Poppaea Sabina written on it has led to the further suggestion that this may have been the holiday residence of his second wife Poppeae Sabina.

Villa Poppaea in Oplontis

The villa was covered in about 10 meters of larva during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. This has led to the preservation of the villa and many of its sumptuous decorations.

The villa was discovered during the building of the Sarno aquaduct in the 18th century but the site was not recognised officialy. The main excavations took place between 1964 and the mid 1980s. Some parts of the villa complex remain unexcavated because they are covered by the aquaduct or the town of Torre-Annunziata.

The villa was built around 50 BC and extended in several stages. It has an atrium, large dining and reception rooms as well as other smaller rooms. There is also a kitchen, baths and various servants rooms and dormatories.

The villa is surrounded by gardens and in the east garden there is a swimming pool that is 60 meters long!

The villa has marble columns with capitals rather than the brick columns common to other Roman villas in the area. It also contained over 40 marble statues of exceptional quality. These included a group of statues of centaurs some of which were also fountains.


Inside the Villa Poppaea are some magnificent frescoes. These include 'trompe-l'oeil' windows and doors and lots of painted columns. Around the main garden of the villa the walls of the garden room looking out onto it were painted with a rich display of trees, flowers and birds bringing the garden inside and creating a beautiful verdant space.

Some of the rooms still have their mosaic floors and outside it is possible to see the remains of a large peristyle which are a colonnaded patio areas next to the main buildings.

In the garden the remains of olive trees, lemon trees and oleanders as well as apple trees and plane trees have been found. In all thirteen different gardens have been discovered.

Many artifacts from the villa are now housed in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.

There is a second villa nearby but this is much more rustic and is not open to the public.

The town of Torre-Annunziata is about a half hour train journey from both Naples and Sorrento. The Villa Poppaea is just a few minutes walk from the train station. You can buy a combined entry ticket with Pompeii and Herculaneum if you plan to visit these as well.

Villa Poppaea in Oplontis

Attractions nearby

Villa Poppaea makes an excellent addition to a visit to Pompeii or Herculaneum. At Pompeii and Herculaneum you can see a Roman town and imagine life lived in the town. Here you can see the splendours of the holiday villas for the very wealthy Romans.

You might also want to visit Mount Vesuvius, the volcano whose eruption buried Villa Poppaea, Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79AD.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Campania guide.

See also: 

Photos of Villa Poppaea

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Map of Villa Poppaea and places to visit


Villa Poppaea places to visit



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