Tour dates: Custom departures only for groups of 4 or more.
- Daily wine tastings & a visit to the Marisa Cuomo winery
- Hiking: 2 to 5 hours (4-12 miles/day) on mountainous terrain (Level: Intensive intermediate)
- Climb Mt. Vesuvius
- See Pompeii and its vineyards
- Visit a limoncello factory.
- Meet and Depart: Naples
Day 1: Pompeii and Vesusius
When Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, Pompeii was a thriving, wealthy city full of epicures. Ancient wine bars lined the streets leading to the coliseum, and bar owners planted small vineyards next to their establishments. Today's journey first takes us up the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius for a scenic 2-mile hike around the volcano's rim. After lunch, we'll have a guided tour of Pompeii and a peek at the recently excavated Roman vineyards. Here archeologists are working with winemaker Mastroberardino to recreate ancient Roman wine. We'll then continue to Scala and settle into our hotel. On the terrace before dinner, we'll have an Introduction of Campania Wines. Dinner will spotlight the region's seafood-based cuisine, such as pasta with shellfish and cherry tomatoes. Includes: (L), (D).
Day 2: Loop Hike around Ravello
The coastal area surrounding Amalfi is surprisingly thick with woods. Today we'll venture into the Apennines hills, hiking through old chestnut woods, pine forests, and along ancient trails. Our loop hike takes us back to Ravello, where there will be free time to explore its stunningly beautiful Villa Cimbrone and its gardens overlooking the sea - the secret hideaway for Greta Garbo and Leopold Stokowski when they eloped. Our "terrace tasting" offers pointers on How to Taste and more background on Campania's indigenous grapes. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 3: Amalfi and the Valley of the Mills
The destination of our hike today is Amalfi, once a formidable sea power, equal to Venice, Pisa, and Genoa. Starting from the hotel, we head into the wooded hills, passing tiny vineyards, limonetti (lemon groves), medieval ruins, and the town of Pontone. A gradual descent follows a stream in the Valle dei Mulini (Valley of the Mills) down to Amalfi. Here we'll visit a limoncello factory and see how this famous lemon liquor is made. There will be time in town for lunch and sightseeing in the magnificent cathedral or in the well-stocked wine stop. We'll then shuttle to Furore and our next hotel, owned by cousins of highly regarded winemaker Marisa Cuomo. Our pre-dinner "terrace tasting" features Cuomo's wines, produced from ancient terraced vineyards. Dinner at the hotel offers such regional fare as grilled zucchini with mint; baccala (salt cod) with fennel fronds, red peppercorns, and arugula; and scamoraza (melted smoked cheese) wrapped in lemon leaves. Mamma mia! Includes: (B), (D).
Day 4: The Mountain Ridge to Positano
The Amalfi Coast is best admired from on high. Today we'll walk along mountain ridges paralleling the sea. Our hike takes us past terraced vineyards, mountain grottos, sheep herds, and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. We'll wind up in Nocelle for lunch at a trattoria with panoramic view, then you can choose to descend by foot or van to Positano, the coastal town where our final hotel is located. The rest of the day offers free time in Positano to shop or relax. Our evening balcony tasting spotlights a side-by-side comparison of the white wines of Campania: Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, and Falaghina. Dinner in town offers another fantastic view, coupled with fantastic wine and food. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 5: The Isle of Capri
Jutting out of the Bay of Naples is the rock-like island of Capri. Here is where Emperor Tiberius sumptuously lived in exile and where famous writers and movie stars had their getaways. We'll take a ferry to Capri, getting a fabulous view of Naples, the sparkling bay, and Vesuvius along the way. On the island, we'll hike up through its eponymous town and along a path that encircles the island. Optional stop at Villa Jovis, the Roman ruins of Emperor Tiberius' villa. Pre-dinner, we'll convene for an informal wine tasting at the hotel, featuring more of Campania's wines. Dinner is on your own in Positano. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Positano Loop
Today's hike winds through the town of Montepertuso and up the coastal hills into wooded terrain, where oak trees, herbs, and Mediterranean scrub line the way. The descent back to Positano follows an ancient switchback path that was once the old road to Naples. After time for last-minute shopping in Positano, we'll meet for our final terrace tasting, which spotlights Campania's great red, Aglianico, dubbed "Barolo of the South." Our farewell dinner is at a mountainside restaurant featuring a splendid view of Positano as well as fantastic grilled meats, a perfect accompaniment to Aglianico. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 5: Arrivederci. A shuttle to the Naples train station and assistance with your travel plans. Includes: (B).
Note: Cost: $3,595, single supplement, $400 ($200 extra for room upgrade in Positano).
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Europe Italy Local Culture Food & Wine Hiking & Trekking
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