The sea side villas located in so called Penisola Sorrentina, represent one of the most important archeological tributes of the Roman age. The area where the villas were found was extended from the ancient city of Aequa to the natural site called “Punta della Campanella”. The area became so famous during that time because of the beautiful landscapes as well as the richness of the soil that many Roman aristocrats decided to build the villas alongside the sea coast.
The geographer Strabo described this residential landscape, choosing to focus his observations on the coast of Cratere, the ancient name for the gulf, the boundaries of which are defined by the Capo Miseno and the Capo Ateneo, today known as the Punta Campanella. The coast appeared to Strabo as an entire city because of the high density of estates. Although extant evidence of these villas survives into the present day, many of these villas remain partially buried under modern estates along the seaside; nonetheless, their mere-presence confirms thus the Strabo’well known. These beautiful houses were constructed in a very panoramic position with arcades facing the hills and private baths to the beaches. The huge number of these structures is witnessed by the amount of ruins being found in these sites which developed from Aequa until the Capri island. The balcony, made of local tufa, was designed by a continuous alternation of arcades and exedras, together with several paths to the coast sometimes enriched with tunnels, nymphaeums and natural fish ponds. Ancient architects showcased their prowess by exploiting the diverse geological composition of the Sorrentine landscape to its fullest.
These luxurious places were usually finished with piers and haulages. The majority of the villas was built between the end of the 1st BC and the middle of the 1st AC century. This time period overlaps with two important historical moments: the arrival of Augustus to the peninsula where, not only he bought the Capri island, but also relegated his adoptive son, Agrippa Postumo, to one of the villas. It also reminds the stay of the Emperor Tiberio between the 27th and the 37th AD. The villas will be examined in the light of recent excavations and researches.