There are three good reasons to visit the Stabian Villas: the villas, the views, and on most days, they are virtually visitor free. Explore Pompeii with ten thousand of your best friends or venture to the Stabian villas for a calm, and dare we say, relaxed outing.
Two villas are open to explore: Villa San Marco and Villa Arianna. They sit about 1km from one another on the Via Passeggiata Archeologica. Venture out to the water side, then peel away the modern construction and pull back the coastline. You’ll quickly see why Rome’s elite built these vacation villas (and many more) along the edge of this ridge.
Both are huge estates that feature a variety of rooms typical to Roman dwellings and mosaics and frescoes in-situ. The frescoes in Villa Arianna are better preserved but Villa San Marco sports a 30 meter swimming pool. Both are worth a visit.
– The Stabian Villas are within walking distance of the Circumvesuviana train, but are much easier reached by car.
– A nice collection of frescoes from the Stabian Villas are on display at Naples National Archaeological Museum.