From ANSA:

The Vesuvian villa of Poppaea - the notoriously promiscuous and ruthless mistress and wife of Roman Emperor Nero - is set to be restored .

The year-long project will "polish up and preserve the villa's colonnades and other structural parts," said the director of excavations at the surrounding Ancient Roman town of Oplontis, Lorenzo Fergola .

It will also clean famous frescos like the Fruit Vase and the Cassata, which depicts a Roman dessert similar to the noted Sicilian delicacy .

"We'll be working on the foundations and flooring too," Fergola went on. "The work is essential to ensure the safety of the site," he added. However, the other parts of the ample villa will remain open during the restoration, Fergola stressed. Work will begin on October 2 and last about a year, the digs chief said .

The villa was owned by Nero but used by his second wife Poppaea Sabina as her main residence when not in Rome. At the time of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, archeological evidence suggests that the villa was empty for rebuilding and redecoration, possibly in the aftermath of an earthquake in 62 AD .

The frescos decorating the walls are among the best preserved, both in form and in colour, of all Imperial Roman art works .

According to stories told by various Roman historians, Poppaea urged Nero to kill his mother, Agrippina the Younger, and to divorce and later murder his first wife, Octavia. She is also said to have persuaded Nero to kill the philosopher Seneca, who had supported Nero's previous mistress, Acte Claudia. Poppaea is believed to have stirred Nero to attack Christians after the Fire of Rome .

Nero kicked her to death when she was pregnant in 65 AD, ancient authors relate. After her death, Poppaea was honored as divine. Her life inspired a 17th-century opera by Monteverdi .