After arriving at the Naples Airport, we head straight for our deluxe hotel in beautiful historic Naples. After some free time to relax and get settled, we will meet our local guide for a private guided walking tour of the Centro Storico, or historic center, of this fascinating city. Perhaps you can even try what many believe to be the finest espresso in the world! Our welcome dinner tonight is at a wonderful ristorante featuring Neapolitan specialties.
Today is one you will never forget. We visit the most remarkable archaeological discovery ever unearthed: Pompeii. The incredibly preserved houses, streets, shops, even brothels, present a fascinating chronicle of daily life in 79 A.D., when one fateful day the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius froze life in an instant. We stop at a local vineyard for a wine-tasting lunch, where we delight in the freshest pasta and cheeses, and, of course, several types of wine!
Our expert guide then takes us to Herculaneum, another Roman town where the volcanic mud from Mt. Vesuvius preserved the houses and streets exactly as they looked 2,000 years ago. At the end of a memorable day, we return to our hotel in Naples for a free evening.
This morning we board a ferry and depart for the enchanting Isle of Capri, our home for the next two nights. After checking into our ocean-view hotel high above the Mediterranean, we take a private guided walking tour of the quaint village of Capri, one of two villages on the island. Explore the famous Piazzetta and the awe-inspiring Gardens of Augustus. Allow time to poke into the myriad shops that line the narrow streets. Capri is best experienced after the day-trippers depart in the afternoon, so we are fortunate to be able to spend two nights here. Tonight, we dine under a canopy of lemon trees.
Today, we explore Anacapri, the other village on this small island, accessed only by the "Oh, my God" road (the reaction by many who have made this trip). We enjoy a private guided walking tour, which will include a visit to Villa San Michele, the former home of Swedish doctor and writer Axel Munthe. Those who wish may take the chairlift to the top of Monte Solaro, the highest point on the island, which affords gorgeous views to Capri village and the Amalfi Coast.
We then go back to Marina Grande and depart on a leisurely private boat tour around the island, complete with wine and snacks. We have the chance to boat among the iconic Faraglioni rock formations and even go into the Blue Grotto, weather and seas dependent. Tonight you are free to enjoy the island at leisure.
To ease the upset of having to leave beautiful Capri, we head for an equally enchanting location for the next six nights: Amalfi, the namesake of the Amalfi Coast. After arriving by ferry at the port, we check into our charming ocean-view hotel in the heart of the village. We can enjoy an informal walkabout with our tour escort or have free time to relax and shop before reconvening for our dinner tonight at a wonderful restaurant literally on the water.
Little Amalfi, unbeknownst to most, was the first maritime republic in Italy. Although many people think only of the glamour and natural beauty that is the Amalfi Coast, this area is also rich in history: In 839, Amalfi gained its independence and became a flourishing city-state. For two centuries, this small hamlet, with a natural harbor and protection from the Monti Lattari, was a true maritime power. From the Middle Ages well into the Renaissance, paper production was one of Amalfi's key industries, and its prolific shipyard fueled the town's political and commercial power.
Our local guide will take us through the narrow alleyways on our walking tour, and we will visit a paper museum housed in an old mill, where you'll see firsthand how the mill used water to power the machines to make paper from cotton fibers in the 13th century. We will also have the chance to go inside the Duomo of St. Andrew, a gorgeous example of Arab-Norman architecture, built in the 12th Century. Of course, all of this history demands that we get back to the business of vacationing, and so a limoncello tasting at a local shop will be in order. The evening will be free to do as you please.
If you enjoy boating, today is the day for you! Our private guide will take us via boat from Amalfi to Positano, considered by many to be the jewel of the coast. The pastel buildings clinging precipitously to the mountains is the quintessence of picturesque. We will enjoy a walking tour of this enchanting village, followed by plenty of free time to browse the myriad shops, take a swim at the local beach, or simply sit at a beach-side trattoria and watch the world go by. There's no better place to sit with a glass of prosecco and enjoy la dolce vita. We'll then board the boat for a lovely tour of the coast, and then end our day at an enchanting cove virtually unknown to tourists, for a fabulous dinner on the water.
After breakfast, we will depart for Ravello, a tiny village terraced high above the Tyrrhenian Sea that is known for music. Ravello has been a source of inspiration for poets and musicians for centuries, including the German composer Richard Wagner, whose second act of his opera Parsifal was set there. In honor of Wagner, the Villa Rufolo hosts the Ravello Music Festival, an annual music festival displaying the talents of numerous artists and musicians from around the world (more about this later). With our private local guide, we'll visit the aforementioned Villa Rufolo, built for a wealthy Italian family between 1270 and 1280, and also the Villa Cimbrone, a 14th century villa offering incomparable views of the entire Amalfi Coast. After some free time for lunch, we will depart for the award-winning Marisa Cuomo winery for a winery tour and tasting. Tonight, we have dinner al fresco as a group.
Today is a "heavenly" day, as we will amble along the Sentiero degli Dei, or the magnificent "Path of the Gods." We will take a private transfer to our starting point, the village of Bomerano, for our walk that ends in Montepertuso. Done at a very leisurely pace, this walk will take roughly 3 hours with stops along the way. We walk along mountainside, passing lemon and olive groves as well as vineyards delicately clinging to the cliffs beneath our path. The fragrances from the heather, rosemary and broom are intoxicating. We come to the tiny and "untouched" village of Nocelle, inaccessible to cars, and then continue on to Montepertuso, for our transfer back to Amalfi. We will have time to unwind at the hotel before we depart for our dinner and special concert performance in Ravello this evening, part of the Ravello Music Festival.
After a leisurely breakfast, we will depart for Sorrento, the legendary home of the sirens that attempted to lure Homer's hero, Ulysses, to the dangerous rocky shore. The quaint streets are filled with wonderful ceramics and leather shops, and the scent of lemons permeates the air. After some free time to explore, we will be transported to a local working farm in the Sorrentine hills, where we will be treated to a mozzarella-making demonstration, followed by a light-hearted Neopolitan pizza-making lesson. We will then dine on the fruits of our labor accompanied by plenty of local wine. After dessert, we sample the farm's homemade limoncello! It's then back to Amalfi to unwind before our farewell dinner this evening.
Today, we depart for the Naples Capodochino Airport for our return flights home.
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