TIMES AND RATES (click here)

For info: Pompei.reggiaquisisana@cultura.gov.it

The access ticket can be purchased online on the ticketone circuit (click here) or at the museum ticket office.

how to get to the museum

train: Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento (Castellammare di Stabia stop), head towards Piazza Giovanni XXIII + Line 5 (Salita Quisisana stop) car: A3 Napoli-Salerno motorway (Castellammare di Stabia exit), take SS145 for 8.5 km (second exit of Castellammare di Stabia), continue straight on viale Europa, viale delle Puglie and via Panoramica. Turn left onto viale Ippocastani (Quisisana climb)

The rooms of the refurbished Libero D’Orsi museum of Stabia (Museo Archeologico di Stabia Libero D’Orsi) have doubled in number and the collections of works from the villas in the territory of Stabiae have been enriched. 507 finds are now on display, including wall paintings, marble furnishings, and ceramic and bronze ornaments. The museum tour has been enhanced by multimedia educational technologies and equipment which improve the physical and cultural accessibility of the works and the contents. The museum store rooms have also been undergone a facelift, in accordance with a new concept designed to ensure they are not just places for conservation but also accessible research areas that are open to the public. Since 2020, the museum has occupied the premises of the Reggia di Quisisana – a building with a history going back seven centuries, subsequently enhanced under the Bourbons. The museum contains displays of the many exceptional finds from the territory of Stabiae, together with precious evidence of everyday life, in particular the activities that took place in the Roman villas devoted to the pursuit of otium, or “cultivated leisure” (luxurious residences designed for the relaxation of the body and the spirit from the stress of daily activities and business) and in rural villas (similar in concept to modern farms), situated in panoramic settings with “views” of the Bay of Naples.

The tour has been expanded with the introduction of newly restored finds while the existing itinerary has been reassessed in the light of the introduction of new technologies, multimedia and educational displays. For the very first time the displays bring together the decorative elements from the maritime villas found on the Varano Hill during the Bourbon excavations and the decorations discovered by Libero D’Orsi, beginning in 1950. After over 250 years, the new layout finally reunites the finds from Stabiae kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples (MANN) with those discovered by D’Orsi, currently kept at the Quisisana. This has proved possible thanks to the agreement signed with MANN to enhance the archaeological heritage of Stabiae which enables the museum to obtain – thanks to a three-year loan – many of the finds from Stabiae on a rotating basis. It will therefore be possible, for the very first time, to see decorative elements organised according to the contexts of provenance.

The six multimedia devices arranged along the tour recount, through immersive and participatory techniques, the close relations between the ancient city and the contemporary city.

The tour tells the story of an extraordinary archaeological site – the ancient city of Stabiae – which was twice destroyed and twice came back to life. Conquered and razed to the ground during the Social Wars by the troops of the Roman general Sulla, as a punishment for siding with the Italic rebels, it resumed life as a pagus (subdivision of land) of Nuceria and became the site of important, prestigious maritime villas adorned with wonderful, luxurious decoration.

The city would subsequently be destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 like Pompeii and Herculaneum but, unlike them, came back to life as early as AD 92, as is described by the poet Statius. Stabiae was the harbour (statio) of the fleet of Misenum and continued to perform this role in the period after the eruption, as is shown by the finds discovered beneath the cathedral of Castellammare di Stabia.

In the first room, a multimedia model interacts with the exhibits on display, recounting the lengthy period of transformations that affected the territory – comprising the area of Herculaneum, Vesuvius, Pompeii until Surrentum on the side of Neapolis and Nuceria and the Lattari Mountains on the side of Salernum – and the two different moments of the discovery of the ancient city of Stabiae: the first during the Bourbon era (the years when Pompeii and Herculaneum were discovered), the second by headmaster and amateur archaeologist Libero D’Orsi during the 1950s.

The second moment, in particular, is retraced by means of a multimedia diary with the voice, photos and notes of Libero D’Orsi. It is a multimedia book that visitors can leaf through virtually to find out all the details that have contributed to the history and fame of the excavations. An important contribution to the creation of this installation was made by the excavation committee of Stabia which keeps the precious archive of documents left by Libero D’Orsi.


The new concept of the museum is geared heavily towards highlighting the ties that the ancient city of Stabiae succeeded in creating with the resources of its surrounding territory (ager), corresponding today to the municipalities (comuni) of S. Antonio Abate, Santa Maria La Carità, Gragnano, Casola and Pimonte. It is a rich, variegated territory which, in Roman times, was marked by a series of interesting residential and productive complexes that reflected the characteristics of each estate. The museum intends to enhance and recount the distinctive features of these contexts, little known by the community.

A large section is devoted to the finds from these complexes, with their elaborate architecture and decoration, including living rooms, triclinia and cubicula (bedrooms) as well as elegant baths. The scientific project was curated by the Director General Gabriel Zuchtriegel and Maria Rispoli, Director of the Museo Archeologico di Stabia Libero D’Orsi.

The contents were created with the contribution of scholars of the territory, students of the SSM – Scuola Superiore Meridionale – and researchers from the Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli. The new section is completely devoted to the landscape which is viewed as a crucial factor in establishing the relationship between nature and the built environment.

The displays evoke the large rooms that overlooked Vesuvius and the bay of Stabiae which still represent spectacular backdrops reaching out to the sea. In the museum the landscape that could be enjoyed in AD 79 has been faithfully reconstructed at the back of the room, stripping it of all contemporary buildings, and presenting it in a dynamic projection that changes over the 24 hours of the fateful day.

The projection becomes the perspective backdrop to the furnishings discovered in the peristyles and gardens of the villas of Varano. These areas were overlooked by the rooms devoted to sleep and daytime rest, otium and reading, conviviality and hospitality which always focused on the panorama: Ischia and Misenum (Capo Miseno), Capri and the Sorrentine peninsula but also the high green valleys of which the author Symmachus praises the quality and health-giving qualities of the milk produced by the herds of cattle that grazed there.

The walls are decorated with numerous figures of offerers, the portraits of the owners of the house, the female and male figures captured in thoughtful, languid poses. The faces are depicted in all their intimacy, engrossed and lost in thought, profoundly in harmony with the context.

The words of Cicero stand out on the walls of the rooms. He wrote to his friend Marcus Marius: “For I doubt not that in that study of yours, from which you have opened a window into the Stabian waters of the bay […]”.

The discovery of a perfectly preserved chariot with its horses along the ramps of Villa Arianna provides evidence of an internal road network between the plateau of Varano and the sea but it is also a sign of a massacre, caused by the Plinian eruption which destroyed and buried the ancient city. However, unlike Pompeii and Herculaneum, Stabiae rose again from the ashes.

Following the destruction of Pompeii, Stabiae represented the only access to Nuceria. Its roads, the one running inland and the one skirting the sea, saved it from oblivion. The story of the rebirth of the city is told through an interactive multimedia installation and the finds received on loan from the Museo Diocesano Sorrentino Stabiese, the museum that keeps and displays the finds unearthed beneath the cathedral of Castellammare di Stabia, which date to the 2nd and the 6th centuries AD.