33km (20 miles) SE of Naples
If you have a taste for restful and leisurely sightseeing, then the town of Castellammare di Stabia is the place for you. Opening like a fan onto the Bay of Naples, the town enjoys a beautiful location between beaches and hills. It is blessed with multiple natural springs -- 28 of them, each with its own therapeutic characteristics -- that have made Castellammare a popular resort since antiquity. The Romans called it Stabiae, and it was popular among the VIPs of the day including Cicero who used to spend his vacations here. The eruption of A.D. 79 obliterated the town, and although the settlement was reborn after the disaster, its inhabitants were forced to take refuge in the mountains to escape the incursions of Goths and Longobards.
In the 9th century, the citizens build Castrum a Mare, the castle that lent the town its modern name. The Angevin dynasty later surrounded the town with walls, enlarged its harbor, and built the Royal Palace for the king's vacations. The Bourbons subsequently created a prosperous shipyard that fueled the development of the town, and today it remains an important shipyard.