In ancient times, the area around Vesuvius was dotted with dozens of rural, luxury villas owned by the wealthy and powerful Roman patricians. These villas shared the same tragic fate as the more famous and larger sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, destroyed by the fury of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Archaeological excavations in the mid XX century identified the site of an ancient area between Herculaneum and Pompeii called Oplontis (the now modern city of Torre Annunziata). It was probably a suburb of Pompeii, located inland in the countryside, where wealthy landowners built luxury estates, equipped with all comforts, decorated with refined frescoes and mosaics, and with annexed farm buildings for the production of wine, oil or cereals.
One of the most impressive villas found in the area is connected to the name of probably the most infamous Roman emperor in history, Emperor Nero. More precisely, it is thought that the villa belonged to his second wife, Poppaea Sabina, whose wealthy family was originally from the area around Pompeii. Called Villa Poppaea or Villa Oplontis, this incredible site has been partly excavated and it displays some of the best examples of Roman frescoes ever found.