Highlights of Naples and the Amalfi Coast
- Day 1
Our trip begins in Naples. It's a city of diverse contrasts and one that evokes enormous pride among the locals. Its rich history, staunch Catholicism and endless charm make it one of the most engaging cities in Italy.Tonight you might like to try the most famous Neapolitan cuisine, pizza. The traditional pizzas served here aren't as crispy as in most parts of Italy. They tend to be thinner in the centre so that the fresh tomato sauce collects and soaks into the base. It's normally then topped with a drizzling of olive oil, mozzarella and fresh basil.
- Day 2
We start our sightseeing this morning by our Explore Leader taking us on a walking tour of old Naples. We'll wander through the old city streets, open air markets and narrow alleyways that give us a captivating insight into the city's heart, which has gone unchanged in essence for generations. Along the way we will see the round stone turrets of Maschio Angioino Castle, the square seafront Castle Dell'ovo, the main square of Piazza del Plebiscito, the ornate glass covered shopping arcade of Galleria Umberto and the Baroque and Neo-Classical facade of the Royal Palace. This afternoon is free for you to maybe visit the National Museum, which is one of the most important archaeological museums in mainland Europe and houses a prestigious collection of ancient art. You can see antique marbles, bronze sculptures, colourful mosaics and a myriad of treasures from the famous sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Alternatively you might like to head underground in the Napoli Sotterranea where 40 metres below Naples' historic centre you can discover an underground world of passageways.
- Day 3
This morning we will take the train to the nearby ruins of Herculaneum at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. Buried by the volcanic eruption of AD 79, the city was hermetically sealed under a thick layer of volcanic mud, which preserved a staggering amount of wooden furniture and other organic materials - even fruit. After our two hour guided tour, you'll have further time to explore before we take the train to Sorrento Peninsula, where we will stay for the next three nights.
- Day 4
oday you are free to relax on the Sorrento Peninsula or perhaps to visit the island of Capri. You can take a train to Sorrento town and then it's just a short walk to the Port of Sorrento to board a hydrofoil ferry across to the island of Capri, which takes about 20 minutes each way. There are then multiple ways for you to explore the island, but we'd recommend taking a private bus excursion to the main sights of Anacapri and Capri. From Anacapri you could walk to the delightful museum and gardens of Villa San Michele and to the Villa Jovis - the ruins of the Roman Emperor Tiberius' cliff top palace with impressive views over the island. Alternatively you can take a boat to the famed Blue Grotto, which is a sea cave where the sunlight shines through it in such a way that it illuminates the waters and makes them appear bright blue. Go into the cavern to witness this natural spectacle.
- Day 5
We board the train this morning to Pompeii for a guided walking tour to introduce us to this remarkably well-preserved example of a provincial Roman city. The town once housed 15,000 people and was an important commercial centre, as well as a favourite residence of wealthy Roman patricians. Of course, on one fateful day some 2,000 years ago, this all changed when the powerful eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius buried the city, preserving the city and its citizens in layers of ash and pumice. On our tour, we will see the extensive colonnaded forum with its Temple of Jupiter and the magnificently-decorated villas, such as that of the Vetii. Human casts of some of the victims trapped by the eruption give an emotive snapshot of this catastrophic event. Following our visit we take the train to Sorrento where you are free to explore or perhaps join a guided walking tour of the main city sights
- Day 6
Drive to Bomerano where we begin the Walk of the Gods to Positano, which is regarded as one of the best coastal walks in the world. The high cliff path contours west, with magnificent views over the Bay of Salerno and Capri. The trail passes under huge limestone cliffs and above picturesque stone farmhouses until it reaches the attractive village of Nocelle. From here, we descend down an ancient stairway, passing pretty flower gardens, into Positano. A poor fishing village until the 1950s, Positano has grown into a chic town that is still a favourite with Hollywood stars. Positano's colourful buildings are stacked up the green cliff side above its sandy beachThe walk today is moderately graded, will take approximately five hours and covers a distance of eight kilometres with a 650 metre descent. The walk can be shortened and end in Montepertuso for anyone who doesn't want to do the steep final descent with a significant number of steps into Positano. From Montepertuso it's easy to take the public bus to Positano to catch up with those finishing the walk. After free time in Positano to relax on the beach or perhaps to have a cold beer to reward ourselves on finishing our walk, we take a ferry to Amalfi and onto Maiori where we spend the next two nights..
- Day 7
Today we take a ferry along the coast to avoid the traffic on the roads and to see the spectacular scenery on our way to Amalfi. The beautiful 11th century Cathedral of Saint Andrea dominates the town - a magnificent combination of Romanesque and Saracen design, with an impressive set of bronze doors that hail from Constantinople. At the far end of the town lies the Valley of the Mills, a once important centre of Amalfi's paper industry, that today echoes with the ghosts of its past glories. Next we'll take the public bus to nearby Ravello to go on a brief tour with our Leader before having free time to explore more. A tranquil spot located high on a rocky promontory overlooking the azure coastal waters. The architecture here is a glorious mix of Moorish flair and aristocratic excess, and the town's captivating charms have attracted artists and writers to its enchanting streets for generations.
- Day 8
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Maiori. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Maiori at any time.