When Vesuvius erupted in 79 it destroyed the nearby area. The most famous destroyed city is obviously Pompeii but this is far from the only community and building which was destroyed by the eruption. The fame of Pompeii means it will attract most of the visitors to the area so if you search out some of the lesser known places you will have them almost to yourself.
Just a little north of Pompeii you find a little suburb part of Pompeii called Opolentis which used to house several rich villas. Today you can go and visit the Villa Poppaea which used to belong to Poppaea Sabina who was the second wife of Nero. So the villa is of pretty high standards in general considering the wealth of Poppaea. The villa had been damaged in an earth quake in 62 but it had undergone repairs by the time the eruption hit so you won’t see any of the old damages.
The villa was hidden and forgotten under the ashes until it was rediscovered in 1590 when the locals dug out a new canal. But nothing more was done at this time. Serious excavation of the place didn’t take place until 1839-40 when an archeological dig was taking place – but the work was stopped due to the lack of funds. So it wasn’t until 1964-84 a final effort was done to unearth the villa and open it up to the public.
The villa is big but it isn’t at the same scale as the enormous complex of Villa Adriana in Tivoli – so this place is good for a short visit. Hence if you don’t have the time to go through all the streets of Pompeii this is actually a nice place to go and visit to see a well preserved villa with its many columns and frescos which has survived under the ground for 2 thousands years.
There are several rooms inside the villa and the rooms are all richly decorated with different kind of paintings. The decorations have been protected by the ashes for centuries so they are remarkably well preserved.
The villa is a great place to visit to get an introduction to how the rich people of Rome lived back in the heyday of the Roman Empire.