The RAS Foundation (based in Vesuvian Inn Hotel) is a non-profit Italian cultural organization which was founded in Washington DC in 2002, by the initiative of the University of Maryland, as a cooperative project in the field of cultural heritage, born under the international treaty that links the United States and Italy. The “Restoring Ancient Stabiae” project aims to build an Archaeological Park of almost sixty hectares on the site of ancient Stabiae (a city buried with Pompeii and Ercolano by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD).
The site of Stabiae offers an unusual opportunity to excavate one or more of the enormous villas to its fullest extent, revealing the full complex of gardens, rooms, seaside terraces and surrounding farmland. The site is largely free of modern buildings, and the Vesuvius eruption excellently preserved the villas under ash and pumice. The Superintendency of Archaeology of Pompeii and the Restoring Ancient Stabiae (RAS) Foundation are working on plans to make Stabiae an Archaeological park. To realize Archaeological Park, RAS Foundation, from 2002 to now, has planned, coordinated and directed 16 archaeological excavation projects and restauration of three villas: Villa San Marco, Villa Arianna and Secondo Complesso. Students and scientists from 35 European and Nord American schools, universities and museums participated in search activities in collaboration with RAS Foundation.
Pompeii and Herculaneum present life in ancient Roman towns. The villa rustica at Boscoreale is a vivid presentation of a working farm. At Stabiae the visitor would experience Roman villa culture, strolling among frescoed rooms, splashing fountains and shady gardens. Together, these three sites illustrate three major aspects of Roman culture in the region of Campania.
Inspired by a study from the NIAF (National Italian American Foundation), which stated that none of the 150 American Universities, that normally hold internships and summer schools in Italy, are present in the Campania region; the RAS Foundation established the Vesuvian Institute in 2007. It facilitates research by making available educational resources to include: auditoriums, study halls and a theatre.
Located in Southern Italy, the unique complex collaborates with schools, foreign and Italian Universities, cultural groups and researchers of the Vesuvian area. Additionally, it offers travellers and groups the opportunity to enjoy Italian culture in a relaxing atmosphere.RAS Fondazione develops international projects to cooperation, planning and management of mobility programs with research institutes and universities in order to promote archaeology and cultural heritage. From 2010 Ras Foundation organize training courses for teachers and from 2014 is part of Erasmus Plus Program. From 2016 RAS has coordinated 2 international projects, CULTY and S-FEST and now is responsible of DISARTY and CYRCLE projects for tourism to support environmental and cultural promotion.