Ancient Stabiae, Italy

Luxury villas of the Roman elite featuring incredible frescoes


CyArk scanning a villa at Ancient Stabiae by CyArkCyArk

Expedition Overview

In June 2013, the non-profit Restoring Ancient Stabiae (RAS) Foundation partnered with CyArk to digitally preserve priority areas of the villas, with a special focus on Villa Arianna, as part of a larger master plan to define and create Ancient Stabiae as a sustainable archaeological park. To accomplish this, Scott Lee from CyArk, Guido Galvani, a consultant for the University of Ferrara and Marco Medici from the University of Ferrara utilized terrestrial LiDAR scanning in tandem with conventional survey methods to create accurate drawings and digital measurements of the villa. CyArk's work was sponsored by the Friends of Heritage Preservation foundation with matching funds from

View of the frescoes on the walls of a villa in Ancient Stabiae by CyArkCyArk

Introducing Ancient Stabiae

Stabiae was an ancient Roman town located on a cliff facing the Bay of Naples approximately 4.5 km from Pompeii. The site was home to a half-dozen enormous panoramic villas of the Roman elite and aristocracy. After the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE the town was buried in ash but unlike Pompeii the location was reinhabited and became famous for its thermal springs. The recently excavated villas are spectacularly well-preserved with hundreds of square meters of frescoes in brilliant condition.

Close-up detail of a fresco drawing at a villa in Ancient Stabiae by CyArkCyArk

Villa Arianna

Villa Arianna is famous for its beautiful frescoes and incredibly preserved gardens. The villas name has been derived from one such fresco depicting Dionysus saving Ariadne from the island of Dia. Many of the other frescoes depict light, winged figures and animals. The villa expanded over the course of 150 years and has one of the largest courtyards of any Roman villa as well as a private tunnel system leading to the former shore of the Mediterranean.

Open Heritage 3D by CyArkCyArk

Data from this project is now freely available through Open Heritage 3D.

Download the data from this project.

About Open Heritage 3D

The mission of the Open Heritage 3D project is to:

● Provide open access to 3D cultural heritage datasets for education, research and other
non-commercial uses.

● Minimize the technical, financial and legal barriers for publishers of 3D heritage data.

● Promote discovery and re-use of datasets through standardized metadata and data formats.

● Foster community collaboration and knowledge sharing in the 3D cultural heritage community.

● Share best practices and methodologies for the capture, processing and storage of 3D cultural heritage data

Credits: Story

Find out more about CyArk's work by signing up for our newsletter. You can also support our continued efforts on projects like this by donating.

This project was made possible through the generous support of Friends of Heritage Preservation and the following partners:

Restoring Ancient Stabiae

Friends of Heritage Preservation

University of Ferrara

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.