City Guides

The Italy Escape for History Buffs

ESCAPE TO CASTELLAMMARE DI STABIA, ITALY

Between Naples and Sorrento lies a small Italian town with a massive past. Castellammare di Stabia, modern day ancient Stabiae, is often forgotten on a classic “visit Italy” itinerary. You typically hear the obvious: indulge in wine and romance throughout Rome, live extravagantly in Milan, unwind in Lake Como or explore the wonders of Cinque Terre. Though all of these hot spots provide a matchless experience of Italy, we encourage you to include a few more stops along the way. Enter Castellammare di Stabia: your perfect stopover destination on route to Sorrento or Capri. Its signature landscape, postcard aesthetic and incredible coastline radiates antiquity and a sort of quaintness that only a small Italian town can provide.

Castellammare Di Stabia, Italy on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Sailogy

WHY HERE

Castellammare di Stabia is located in the Campania region in southwestern Italy. It is surrounded by the Bay of Naples and is known as an archeological hub. The Campania region, generally speaking, is perfect for those who crave exploration, culture, and history on top of the definitive charm and romance that only Italy can propose. It is unparalleled with everything it offers: a vibrant metropolitan atmosphere in Naples, a dreamy Amalfi backdrop for intimate luxury, Capri for an upscale Italian rendezvous and historical sites for those itching to learn.

WHEN TO VISIT

Expect a classic Mediterranean climate during your visit since the city is in the south – think hot dry summers and mild winters. We recommend considering visiting in the spring or fall to avoid crowds and busy season, but you are safe to go anytime between May and September. Summer months average around 29°C and 84.2°F and you can expect a relatively similar range heading into fall.

HOW TO GET HERE

The nearest airport is in Naples. The Vesuvian Archaelogical Circuit train runs between Naples and Sorrento and is your best bet on hassle-free travel. The main stop in Stabia is Via Nocera and is approximately a 40-minute ride. For reference, Pompeii is about a 20-minute ride from this station. Other travel options include taking a car or transit from the Naples airport.

LAY OF THE LAND

CASTELLAMMARE DI STABIA
A small city located in the Campania region in southwestern Italy. It is known for being close in proximity to many prominent archaeological sites.

CAMPANIA
A region found in southwestern Italy. Famous for archeological ruins and its incredible coastlines. Notable spots to visit in this region include Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Positano (Amalfi Coast) and Capri.

BAY OF NAPLES
A gulf in southwestern Italy that leads into the Mediterranean Sea and has a stunning coastline. 

MOUNT VESUVIUS
The main reason you get to visit all the archeology sites in the area; also known as the culprit that destroyed Pompeii and many other ancient roman cities in 79 AD. It is still an active volcano and constantly monitored due to its high level of danger.

SORRENTO
A small picturesque town on the coast of the Bay of Naples. Here you can take the route to the Amalfi Coast! The area is famous primarily for having stunning hilltop views, fresh seafood, a local market and its romantic nightlife.

CAPRI
An island in the Bay of Naples. It’s known for its upscale shopping, hotels, dining and ambiance. Visitors also come here to visit the Blue Grotto, which is an area of the sea that is a particularly stunning shade of blue. It is one of the best spots for boating and has an excellent marina.

Photo Courtesy of Thomas Olsson/Flickr

STAY

HOTEL MIRAMARE STABIA

Miramare offers guests contemporary design, beachfront location, and romantic ambiance. The hotel is in walking distance to local landmarks and restaurants, making it a great option for those that value convenience. It has a pool, restaurant and bar for visitors to enjoy. It has an overall upscale appeal in a beautiful area of town. 

Hotel Miramare Stabia on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Miramare 

Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1 / 80053 Castellammare di Stabia NA / +39 081 871 0791

TOWERS HOTEL STABIAE

This four-star hotel is perfect for those that want breathtaking coastal views and a private beach. Amenities include complimentary breakfast, indoor poor and spa, hot tub, sauna, gym and hammam. 

Towers Hotel Stabiae on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Towers Hotel Stabiae: Terrace Deluxe Sea View Room

S.S. Sorrentina 145 / 80053 Castellammare di Stabia NA / 39 081 394 6700

LA MEDUSA HOTEL & BOUTIQUE SPA

This is an upscale hotel inside of an 18th century Italian mansion, surrounded by a stunning landscape and in proximity to ancient sites. It also has an excellent on-site restaurant, Donn’Eugenia, where guests can enjoy authentic cuisine. What more can one ask for? This is perfect for couples that want a romantic stay that is still close to exploration opportunities. It’s the best of both worlds.

La Medusa Hotel & Boutique Spa on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of La Medusa Hotel 

Passeggiata Archeologica, 5 / 80053 Castellammare di Stabia NA, Italy / 39 081 872 3383

EAT

BEST PIZZA: PIZZERIA CAPRI BLU

Nothing beats an authentic pizza experience in Italy – the thought of classic thin crust, melted mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce is instantaneously mouth-watering. When in the area, head to Pizzeria Capri Blu. It is a much-loved local pizza joint near the water. Believe us when we say it’s always best to trust local opinions when it comes to a dish as iconic as this.    

Pizzeria Capri Blu on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Pizzeria Capri Blu

Corso Alcide de Gasperi 7 / 80053 Castellammare di Stabia NA / Italy 39 081 870 2556

BEST OVERALL DINING: TERRAZZA MIRARI

Fine dining overlooking the incredible Bay of Naples. Located inside the Miramare hotel, this is a great upscale option for those craving authentic cuisine and delicious wine with a striking view. Be sure to make reservations prior to secure your spot. 

Terrazza Mirari on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Terrazza Mirari 

Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1 / 80053 Castellammare di Stabia NA / +39 081 871 0791

BEST GELATO: GELATERIA K2

Locals flock here for a reason! This gelateria is known around the city as being one of the best for creamy, flavourful gelato classics. Picking a flavour will be the hardest part: coffee gelato or stracciatella? Decisions, decisions. 

Gelateria K2 on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Gelateria K2

Via Giuseppe Bonito, 25 / 80053 Castellammare di Stabia NA / Italy

BEST COFFEE: UNIVERSITÁ DEL CAFFÉ BY 2000 DAL 1947


Head here to try one of the best frappes in your life. Frappes – think of a slushy meets iced coffee type of consistency – are popular drinks throughout Europe that are tasty and refreshing. The frappe here is the perfect drink to quench your thirst during those hot Italian summer months: it is made from an impeccable mix of ice, coffee, sugar, and (sometimes) milk. Locals and visitors alike love this café for its welcoming atmosphere, delightful pastries and enjoyable drink options. We think you will, too. 

Universitá Del Caffée by 2000 Dal 1947 on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Universitá Del Caffé By 2000 Dal 1947

Via Quattro Novembre 10 / 80053, Castellammare di Stabia Italy / 39 08 1801 8815

EXPLORE

POMPEII

Calling all history buffs! Approximately 6km from Castellammare, you will find one of Italy’s most famous archeological ruins and UNESCO World Heritage sites: Pompeii. This entire area of Italy is notorious for its fate – a violent burial under volcanic ash and debris from the Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 A.D. Visitors are able to stroll the city and absorb hints of what life was like for ancient Romans. Although the area suffered tragic luck, this dark chapter in history unearthed opportunity for learning through preservation. The lapilli (volcanic rock) from the eruption preserved the city so well that it allowed modern day archaeologists to mould life-like figures from the ashes. One glance at the infamous ‘Pompeii dog’, an example of a moulded figure, offers a distressing snapshot into the unimaginable reality of this event, leaving us grateful that modern technology is able to monitor the volcano more meticulously today.

Pompeii on LEO edit.
Pompeii. Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Porta Marina / Via Marina, 6 / 80045 Pompei NA / +39 081 8575 347 

VILLA ARIANNA

This villa offers an opportunity to glimpse into the lives of Roman elite. One of the oldest villas in ancient Stabiae, Villa Arianna boasts a stunning view of the Bay of Naples and dates back to second century BC. It is one of two villas that are open to the public for exploration, with the other being Villa San Marco. Villa Arianna is known for its well-preserved ancient frescos and large garden in particular. Many of the original frescos are now located in the Naples Archeological Museum. Through this excavation, archaeologists have discovered a great deal about Roman life and the cultural significance of gardening through decades of studying the villa’s layout.

Villa Arianna on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia
Villa Arianna on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Stabia Holiday House

Stabia / Passeggiata Archeologica, 1 / 80053 Castellammare di Stabia NA / 39 081 8575347

MEDIEVAL CASTLE – CASTELLAMMARE DI STABIA

A stunning medieval castle that dates back to the 9th century. A courtyard, drawbridge, moat, and an incredible view of the Bay of Naples and Mt Vesuvius surrounds it. The castle hosts a very romantic atmosphere for couples and is perfect for light exploration or events. This is a great spot to catch a local event or party.

Medieval Castle- Catellammare Di Stabia on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Castello Medioevale

S.S. 145 Sorrentina km 10.10 / Str. Panoramica, 62 / 80053 Castellammare di Stabia NA, Italy / 39 081 2466193

HERCULANEUM – PARCO ARCHEOLOGICO DI ERCOLANO

Herculaneum is another ancient city destroyed by Mount Vesuvius, albeit it uncovered some interesting discoveries when compared to Pompeii. It is a bit farther out – approximately 30 minutes – and found using the “Ercolano Scavi” stop on the Naples-Sorrento train line. The most notable difference between the two is how each city was preserved based on the way they experienced the eruption. Pompeii, for example, was impacted by the first phase of the eruption. The debris and gas instantly trapped victims and etched them into that exact moment in time, allowing archeologists to mould life-like figures that we see in current day. Herculaneum, on the other hand, is home to more bone remains as the city experienced the second phase of the eruption (lava). The lava instantly disintegrated those left behind, leaving nothing but bone. Here, one of the most notable places to visit is the Villa of the Papyri. It is one of the most luxurious ancient homes in Italy with stunning frescos, marble, and bronze details. Archeologists believe that both Pompeii and Herculaneum were upscale towns that many Roman elite liked to visit. 

Herculaneum on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of WitR.com

Corso Resina, 187 / 80056 Ercolano, Italy / 39 081 732 4321

MOUNT VESUVIUS

Calling all thrill seekers. Dare to experience one of the world’s most dangerous volcanos up close and personal? The volcano is precarious because of the level of damage that it can cause to Naples and nearby towns. It is a full stratovolcano, meaning the eruption is very explosive due to the high levels of gas involved and because it can erupt without much warning. Hiking to the crater takes approximately three hours – it is not a strenuous journey but can be quite tiring in Italian heat. Prepare by packing enough water and essentials for the hike. 

Mount Vesuvius on LEO edit.
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Vesuvius National Park / 80044 Ottaviano / Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

Editor’s Note: Some of the activities, hotels, and restaurants listed on our website may be currently closed due to Covid health restrictions. We urge you to check before visiting and to exercise caution and follow CDC guidelines if traveling or visiting any of our recommendations.

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