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Oplontis is an ancient Roman archaeological site located in the town of Torre Annunziata, south of Naples in the Campania region of southern Italy. The excavated site comprises two Roman villas, the best-known of which is Villa A, the so-called Villa Poppaea, second known as the Villa B or the Villa Tertius. Like the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Oplontis was buried in ash during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE.


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The town of Oplontis probably developed under where Torre Annunziata stands today. Excavations have revealed buildings particularly on the east and west sides of the town, the eastern one in the immediate vicinity of Villa A and the other almost at its boundary with Torre del Greco. It is thought that in antiquity, as elsewhere (e.g. at Herculaneum and Stabiae), luxury residential villas like Villa A lined the coast, whereas most productive (agricultural) villas were located farther inland.

Residential Buildings

circa 50 BCE

Villa Poppaea
The Villa Poppaea, also called the Villa Oplontis or Oplontis Villa A, is an ancient luxurious Roman seaside villa (villa maritima) located in Torre Annunziata between Naples and Sorrento, in Southern Italy. The quality of the decorations and construction suggests that it was owned by the Emperor Nero, and a pottery shard bearing the name of a freedman of Poppaea Sabina, the second wife of the emperor Nero was found at the site, which suggests the villa may have been her residence when she was away from Rome and which gives it its popular name.

It was sumptuously decorated with fine works of art. Its marble columns and capitals mark it out as being especially luxurious compared with others in this region that usually had stuccoed brick columns. Many artifacts from Oplontis are preserved in the Naples National Archaeological Museum. Parts of the villa lying under modern structures remain unexcavated.

circa 120 BCE

Villa Tertius
The Villa Tertius, also known as the Oplontis Villa B, is believed to have belonged to Lucius Crassius Tertius, after a bronze seal bearing his name was discovered on the premises. It was built at the end of the second century BCE.

In contrast to the sumptuously decorated Villa Poppaea, Villa B is much smaller than Villa A, and lacks the latter's lavish decoration. Villa B is a rustic, two-story structure with many rooms left unplastered and with tamped earth floors. The structure's plan reveals a central courtyard surrounded by a two-story peristyle of Nocera tufa columns. The complex was part of a wider settlement built before the construction of neighbouring Villa A.

This villa was not deserted at the time of the eruption: the remains of 54 people were recovered in one of the rooms of the villa, perishing in the surge that hit Oplontis.

See Also