Excavations began in Stabiae in 1749, one year after those at Pompeii and eleven after those at Herculaneum. The excavations were directed by Rocque Joaquín de Alcubierre under the auspices of Charles de Bourbon.

Alcubierre, together with Karl Weber, worked on the excavation of the Villa San Marco between 1749 and 1754, laterly extending the excavation to cover the Villa of the Shepherd.

The site expanded between 1757 and 1762 to include the Villa Arianna and the surounding area. Excavations continued again, after a break of 13 years, between 1775 until 1782.
The picture to the left is the plan of the Villa San Marco drawn up by Karl Weber. In 1782 the excavated buildings were re-buried after the removal of finds and the best of the surviving frescoes.

Villa San Marco Villa of the Shepherd Villa Arianna
After the Bourbon excavations, there were only occasional discoveries. Perhaps just as well, as the illustration on the right shows that excavation techniques at that time left a lot to be desired.
Systematic excavations began after the end of World War II. In 1950 local enthusiasts began the re-excavation of the Villa Arianna, and part of the Villa San Marco.
The excavations continued methodically until interrupted in 1962. The material uncovered during this period included some frescoes and these and other artifacts form the nucleus of the collection in the Stabian Antiquarium.
In 2004 the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation (RAS) was formed - an Italian American collaboration between the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, the region of Campania and the University of Maryland.

The prime goal of the Foundation is to excavate, restore and build an archaeological park at the ancient site of Stabiae.

Map of Stabiae


Map showing location of the Villas

Summary Details

Name or Description
Area (Sq.m)
No of Rooms
Decoration and Comments
Villa San Marco
TBA TBA The villa is believed to have belonged to Poppaea Sabina, the second wife of the Emperor Nero and dates back to the 1st century BC.
N/A Villa of the Shepherd
 TBA  TBA This is an unusual complex and consists of two nuclei built on different axes and at different times. It may not have been a villa but a valetudinarium (a health spa) with nothing but bath quarters, guest rooms, and a garden.
N/A Villa Arianna
A rustic building built on two levels arranged around a monumental peristyle with a double order of doric columns.
N/A The 'Second Complex'
 TBA  TBA This property is situated across a narrow lane from the Villa Arianna. First excavated in 1762 by Weber it was subsequently re-buried.
N/A Villa of Anteros and Hercules
TBA TBA This property is the only example of an otium villa (a residential building used for rest and recreation) in the town of Gragnano. First excavated in 1749 by Karl Weber it was subsequently re-buried.
N/A Villa Carmiano
A villa rustica first discovered in 1963 noted for its fine fourth style frescoes. The building was re-buried in 1998.
N/A Villa Petraro
1,000 30+ A villa rustica discovered in 1957. The building appears to have been in the process of being for solely domestic use. It was re-buried in 1958.