Sprawled haphazardly across its clifftop position with first-class views over the Bay of Naples, Sorrento smiles smugly. Within striking distance of edgy-yet-ancient Naples, a stone’s throw from the dramatic Amalfi Coast, and a short boat ride from sparkling Capri, it’s certainly a town that has it all - the perfect base for our 7-night tour. Highlights include the awe-inspiring Mount Vesuvius and the incredible lost cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum - not forgetting the all-important homemade gelato and limoncello to boot.
7 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
Fly from the UK to Naples and transfer to the Hotel O Sole Mio (4T), in the charming hamlet of Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi. This quiet base is within easy reach of a regular bus service, which can take you into Sorrento.
With its last eruption in 1944, Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe. Today this restless mountain provides an impressive backdrop to the Neapolitan Riviera, a remnant of a much larger, extinct volcano that shaped Italy’s west coast. Its fertile soil has attracted residents for millennia and its beauty has drawn travellers here for centuries, including the young English elites of the 18th century who embarked on the Grand Tour, learning of the European culture and geography outlined in Richard Lassels’ 1670 travel guide ‘The Voyage to Italy’. We spend our morning in Vesuvius National Park, where an expert alpine guide takes us along nature trails to explain sites of great geological and historical interest. Delicious wine is produced from grapes growing in its nutrient-rich soil, and we take this opportunity to stop at Cantina del Vesuvio, a winery on the slopes of the volcano, to taste the local Lacryma Cristi with included snacks.
Pompeii - Herculaneum
Spend today in two of the world’s most fascinating archaeological sites - Pompeii and Herculaneum - the wealthy Roman towns buried in AD 79 by a massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Our guide takes us first to Pompeii, to bring to life the day-to-day affairs. This thriving resort town was inhabited by Romans who splashed their wealth on their homes, and by an entire barrack of gladiators who provided entertainment in the town’s theatres. Many household items were preserved within the walls that were buried in the thick layers of ash, providing significant proof of Roman customs, trades and art. We spend the afternoon in Herculaneum. Excavations have uncovered writing tablets, food and wooden items, from wine racks to cots, preserved for millennia under 16-25 metres of rock that surged from the volcano. Even the walls themselves offer much information, with shop signs and graffiti with messages of electoral propaganda. To enhance your visits, you will be provided with your own audio headset.
Today is free to explore at leisure. Or join an optional morning tour to the beautiful hills that surround Sorrento, travelling through small picturesque towns and taking in stunning views of the isles of Capri and Ischia, Mount San Costanzo and Mount Vesuvius, and the bays of Salerno and Naples. The journey takes you to two farms. The first produces olives and, after learning about each step of the farming process, you have the opportunity to taste some of the many varieties of olive oil produced here. The second farm uses traditional methods to produce cheese, and a guided visit includes the chance to taste some of its extensive list of cheeses. Return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure.
The Amalfi Coast is listed by UNESCO as an area of great beauty settled by communities since the Middle Ages. Inhabitants have found ways to create beautiful towns and successful orchards along a coastline that plunges vertically into the sea. We travel by coach to Positano, the most photogenic of these towns. After a short tour through its steep, narrow roads overlooked by a series of watchtowers and church domes, we board a boat to fully appreciate its precarious situation. The views as we follow the Amalfi Coast are breathtakingly scenic. We disembark in Amalfi, a small, pretty town where white-washed houses sit on a relatively gentle slope. On our guided tour we get a sense of its strong maritime history and take in the Piazza del Duomo, the town’s historic centre and home of the striking Byzantine cathedral. You have time to explore independently before we board our coach for a scenic drive back to Sorrento, with our guide pointing out its most interesting spots on the way.
Enjoy a day at leisure. You may like this opportunity to take a local bus into Sorrento, where the delightful pedestrian-only streets are filled with old shops selling ceramics and lemon products. A short stroll may lead you to the curious Il Vallone dei Mulino, where the shells of ancient wheat mills stand far below in a mountain cleft, or get lost in the pretty maze of streets as you head towards the harbour. Alternatively, you may like to take one or all of the optional excursions on offer today. Learn the secrets behind handmade gelato with a local gelateria, visit a lemon grove and sample handmade products including limoncello, which you can watch being produced; or learn how to create delicious Neapolitan pizza. Dinner is included this evening in a local restaurant.
Naples is one of Italy’s oldest cities, colonised and named by the Greeks around 750 BC, and ruled by a string of dynasties that saw it rise to Europe’s second largest city by the 18th century, when it became a requisite stop on the young aristocrat’s Grand Tour. Much effort has recently gone into restoring Naples’ scores of churches, museums and palaces and our guided tour introduces you to this monumental place, as we follow old Roman roads to historic corners. On the way, we’ll stop for a pizza lunch and we’ll also try sfogliatella, a layered pastry filled with cream said to have been invented in Naples in the 1700s. Afterwards we return to our hotel to relax.
Day 8 Sorrento Peninsula - Naples - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
• This tour visits places with cobbled streets and uneven terrain and may therefore not be suitable for those with walking difficulties.
• In many cities in Italy, a room tax of between €1-5 per person per night (subject to change), is payable directly to the hotel on check-out.
• Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service is not included.