Saturday, 24 September 2011

What I Did On My Holidays - Part the Fourth - Villa Poppeae

After visiting the museum, I was on the circumvesuviana train back to Sorrento and decided, on impulse, to get off at Torre Annunziata, where I had seen that there is another Roman Villa, which was engulfed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD.

I am so glad that I did. The Villa Poppaea Oplontis is amazing, and it was virtually empty - there were only 4 or 5 other visitors there so I was able to have most of the rooms to myself a lot of the time.

The villa is very complete, and the wall-paintings are incredibly well preserved. It's thought that the villa belonged to the family of Poppea (murdered wife of the Emperor Nero), and that it was empty and undergoing renovations after damage caused in the 62AD earthquake, at the time of the eruption.

The villa was large, with gardens and a swimming pool outside, and this, together with some of the decoration of the gardens and courtyard walls has survived.
You can also still see the plainer decoration on the pillars, and the walls of the corridors and the courtyards.

And wooden shutters have survived in places. The archaeologists have also been able to identify some of the trees and plants which were growing in and around the villa, and so the appropriate fruit-trees have been replanted.
But I have to admit that it is the paintings which I like best, and found most intriguing and memorable. seeing how bright the colours are, it's hard to realise that they were painted over 1,900 years ago.
I'm so very glad I did decide to get off the train, and go to look at the Villa.

(More pictures in my Flickr set here)

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