The Bay of Naples has attracted travellers for centuries, and became an essential destination for the elite British looking to broaden their minds in the 17th and 18th centuries. We stay in the Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi area of Sorrento, near the southern end of the beautiful bay, and spend our days discovering the very sites that attracted them here - the edgy yet ancient city of Naples, the monumental Mount Vesuvius and the incredible cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum that fell under its power. We also take this opportunity to explore the Amalfi Coast, hugely popular for its incredibly dramatic landscape. And of course you can’t visit the region of Campania without trying all the wonderful foods it’s renowned for, including Neapolitan pizza, olive oil, handmade gelato, wine and limoncello.
7 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
Fly from London Gatwick Airport on a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Naples. Upon arrival, we 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.
Day 2 Mount Vesuvius
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 and enjoy a light traditional lunch.
Day 3 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.
Day 4 Amalfi Coast
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.
Day 5 Sorrento Hills
This morning we head into 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. Our journey takes us 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 our guided visit includes the chance to taste some of its extensive list of cheeses. We return to our hotel for an afternoon at leisure.
Day 6 Sorrento Peninsula
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.
Day 7 Naples
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 try sfogliatella, a layered pastry filled with cream said to have been invented in Naples in the 1700s. For lunch we enjoy a three-course meal which includes another great food symbol of Naples - Neapolitan pizza. Afterwards we return to our hotel to relax.
Day 8 Sorrento Peninsula - Naples - London
Transfer to Naples Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Gatwick.
• 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.
Including Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Amalfi Coast