Castellammare di Stabia Travel Guide

  • Bird's eye view
    Bird's eye view
    by weatherwytch
  • Collonades around the swimming pool
    Collonades around the swimming pool
    by weatherwytch
  • The view from the terrance by the pool
    The view from the terrance by the pool
    by weatherwytch

Castellammare di Stabia Things to Do

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    Bandstand 3 more images

    by leics Updated Oct 22, 2011

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    Castellammare has a pleasant sea front with stupendous views across the bay to Vesuvius. The ancient shoreline was much further inland (at the base of the ridge above the town) but so much ash and pumice was deposited by the Vesuvian eruption that it was forced it back.

    There's a rather odd grassed area between sea and seafront at Castellammare. I'm not sure whether this is evidence of the bay silting up in more recent centuries or whether it is a guard against flooding.

    There's a memorial, a rather elaborate bandstand, a small playground, shady trees and benches. A pleasant place to sit and watch the world go by and, I suspect, a favourite spot for Castellammare's evening 'passeggiata'. The local 'stray' dogs are not interested in human passers-by, which is reassuring as several of them clearly regard this area as their home base.

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    Funivia entrance 3 more images

    by leics Written Oct 22, 2011

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    The cable car up Monte Faito is not for the faint-of-heart but I believe it gives superb views of the bay.

    The journey takes about 8 minutes but I'm afraid I couldn't bring myself to try it...the day was windy, the cable cars wobbly and I am anyway not good with heights. I'll try again another time. Maybe.

    The family I met had taken the funivia the day before and said it was great fun, although they'd gone late and had little time at the top. There is at least one bar when you arrive, and several walking options from the top funivia station, so this would make a nice day out, especially on a very hot day. Perhaps take a picnic with you?

    You access the funivia from Castellammare Circumvesuviana station. It runs roughly every 20-30 minutes, with first and last times varying according to season (operating from May 1st to October 31st).

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    One of the beautiful frescoes 4 more images

    by leics Updated Oct 22, 2011

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    This should really be an off-the-beaten-path tip, because ancient Stabiae lay above the modern town of Castellammare...and the ancient shoreline lay much, much further inland. Past excavations have uncovered other parts of this Roman resort town but (as far as I know) only the two villas are open to the public.

    Villa San Marco was first excavated in the late 1700s but attention soon turned to the 'sexier' sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, so it was not until the late 50s/early 60s that further excavation took place. Like those better-known sites, the rain of pumice and ash from the Vesuvian eruption of 79AD ensured that the villa was remarkably well-preserved.

    It is a truly vast place, quite obviously built not only to impress but also to flaunt the wealth of its owner. There is a massive swimming pool set within a colonnaded courtyard, ending in an outside dining room with a magnificent view of Vesuvius across what would once have been the bay. There are beautiful frescoes throughout, and many mosaics floors (although the best of both, inevitably, are in museums elsewhere). The villa not only has numerous rooms for its occupants (and its servants) but also has its own private baths complex. Clearly a summer home for the wealthiest of the wealthy and, I suspect, the site of many a 'bunga bunga' party before the eruption!

    Perhaps the most unexpected and touching sight is the graffiti of birds and a huge-nosed man, scratched into the lower parts of a corridor's fresco and clearly drawn by a naughty Roman child. Seeing that makes on realise that this place was once a real home for real people.

    The site is open every day, from around 0830, and entrance is free.

    See my travelogues here and here for more photos of the site and its frescoes.

    I've made a separate tip about how to get to the villas.

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Castellammare di Stabia Hotels

Castellammare di Stabia Local Customs

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    The groom poses (with stray dog)... 2 more images

    by leics Updated Oct 22, 2011

    I was very surprised to find two weddings had happened on a mid-October Wednesday afternoon...somehow i associate weddings with weekends.

    But it is clearly part of the celebrations to wander around Castellammare and have your photos taken in various spots along the seafront. I very much enjoyed watching the proceedings whilst taking a short rest from my wanderings.

    Only bride, groom, bridesmaids and 'best men' seemed to be involved...no parents or relatives. And the photos were only of bride and/or groom...posed here and there by the photographer, encouraged to look adoringly into each other's eyes, posing separately (in the case of the groom) with studied nonchalance...

    Most amusing, and a pleasant way of passing the time. I wonder if you'll spot a wedding when you visit? :-)

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Castellammare di Stabia Warnings and Dangers

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    by leics Written Oct 23, 2011

    ...or, alternatively, make sure you peg your washing well if you stay in Castellammare.

    We saw quite a few items of clothing caught up in bushes. It's quite usual to live in apartments here, and normal to peg out washing on the balconies...and, clearly, it's not unusual for strong winds to whisk your washing away if you haven't properly secured it.

    :-)

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