Oplontis is an ancient Roman archaeological site located in the middle of the city of Torre Annunziata, south of Naples in the Campania region of southern Italy. The name "Oplontis" most likely referred originally to the baths in the area of Campo Oncino. The site comprises two Roman villas, the best-known of which is Villa A, the so-called Villa Poppaea. Like the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Oplontis was buried in ash during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
|Location||Torre Annunziata, Province of Naples, Campania, Italy|
|Management||Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei|
|Website||Oplontis (in Italian)|
|Official name||Archaeological Areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Torre Annunziata|
|Criteria||iii, iv, v|
|Designated||1997 (21st session)|
|Region||Europe and North America|
The first of the two villas, referred to by archaeologists as Villa A, was rediscovered in 1590 during the construction of a canal, but no attempt was made to explore the ruins. In 1839–40 archaeological excavations were begun, but ceased due to lack of funds. It was only in 1964–84 that a full-scale excavation was performed that revealed about 60% of the villa, including a large swimming pool and private baths. The parts of the villa lying under modern structures remain unexcavated.
Badly damaged in the AD 62 Pompeii earthquake, Villa A was probably uninhabited and in the process of being rebuilt (a number of tools were found on the site) at the time of the AD 79 eruption. Villa A is famous for its Second- and Third-Style wall paintings. The former are found in the oldest part of the building, which date from c. 50 BC, while the latter were created when the villa was rebuilt after the earthquake. A pottery sherd bearing the name of 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 gives it its popular name.
A second villa, Villa B, was discovered in 1974, 300 metres (980 ft) east of Villa A, during the construction of a school. A bronze seal bearing the name of L. Crassius Tertius was found at the site. Villa B is much smaller than Villa A, and lacks the latter’s lavish decoration.
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