Located between Pompeii and Sorrento is Villa Poppaea known to Sant’Anna archaeology students as “Oplontis”. Now in the modern town of Torre Annunziata, the villa is the only excavated portion of the ancient Roman city of Oplontis and the location of one the many excursions the class requires. Descending past the almost ten meters of volcanic matter below the modern ground level, the group entered the villa from what would have been a vast and luxurious garden. Their instructor, Ilaria Tartaglia, educates them on the immense wealth that lay below that lay below the land owned by her ancestors.
Showing the group through the various quarters of the large villa, Tartaglia points out the graffiti and other evidence suggesting the home was owned by the Roman Emperor Nero to be used by his beautiful and adored wife, Poppaea Sabina. Exploring the gently restored rooms, taking in the rich frescos, and admiring the larger-than-olympic sized pool truly gave the students a look into the history of southern Italy; its ancient architecture and the overwhelming feeling of being a guest in the home of an emperor.