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History of Castellammare Di Stabia

Situated on the pristine Sorrento Coast in the Bay of Naples, Southern Italy, the small town of Castellammare di Stabia has been attracting high profile visitors for centuries. Famous for the healing properties of its thermal mineral waters, many a fine beach and beautiful scenery, it has long been a popular summer resort location. Today midway between the tourist hotspots of Pompeii and Sorrento, the archaeological finds of the Roman resort of Stabia, charming architecture, numerous churches and wonderful works of art all make Castellammare di Stabia a perfect holiday spot for those who revel in cultural and historic excursions beside amazing beaches. The ancient town of Stabiae was occupied successively by the Oscans, Etruscans, Samnites and finally the Romans from the 4th century BCE. Dotted with holiday home luxurious villas and famous for its mineral water, it was a popular holiday resort among the Roman elite. Perhaps most notably, the Roman scholar and statesmen Cicero used to spend his vacations here.
However, when the nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE the entire town, along with nearby Herculaneum and Pompei, was destroyed and covered with volcanic ash. Although the settlement was eventually rebuilt, its inhabitants were subsequently forced to flee to the mountains to escape the invasions of the Goths and Lombards. The medieval castle, from which the city takes its name, was erected in the 9th century on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Naples by the Sorrentines in order to protect their duchy. It was restored during the reign of the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II and subsequently enlarged by King Charles I of Anjou. The ruins of the castle remain today on private property and can be admired from outside. The Angevin dynasty later built walls around the town, enlarged its harbour, and built the Royal Palace for the king’s vacations.
In 1783 the Bourbons created a prosperous shipyard which fuelled the development of the town. Today it remains an important shipyard with Castellammare di Stabia being a commercial and industrial port centre focused on food products, paper, and cement manufacturers.
The ruins of the ancient Roman city of Stabiae are a must see. First discovered in 1749 during the reign of Charles of Bourbon, it was not until 1950 that several archaeological sites were systematically excavated. While nearby Pompei and Herculaneum were residential cities, Stabiae was primarily devoted to the resort, so much so that luxurious residential villas were the norm. Today three well-preserved villas with lavish mosaics and frescoes are open to the public.
Villa Adriana consists of four main areas: service areas and thermal environments on either side of the summer triclinium, dating back to the reign of Nero; the large gymnasium attached to the villa in the Flavian. Its frescoed walls show almost life-size scenes related to mythology inspired by Dionysus, while its floors are mosaic motifs in black and white.
The Second Complex is a building connected to villa Adrianna. The peristyle opens onto a porch introducing a different environment with panoramic sea views. The north area of the house consists of the dining room and bedroom, while the south side (closed to the public) has a portico with columns and a spa district.
Villa San Marco meanwhile is a typical residential villa with swimming pool and garden offering a glimpse into the extent of the luxuries that the wealthy citizens of Castellammare di Stabia indulged in. The entry led to a spa district consisting of a hot room, cold room and tepidarium. Marbled walls painted at the bottom and top fill the environment.