~Naples & Amalfi Coast~
Tour of Pompei and Herculaneum Itinerary 2016
DAY1We arrive in Naples.
DAY2 We drive south to explore the temples, site and museum at Paestum. Long before the Romans came, this was a thriving Greek city, part of the Ancient Greek empire from the 6th century BC. We wander among the three mighty temples, some of the best preserved anywhere in the Greek world. After lunch, we visit Paestum Museum which houses the unique painted ‘Tomb of the Diver’ dated to around 480 BC.
DAY3 We devote a whole day to Pompeii. No other site can compare in revealing the scale and proportions of a Roman town. We visit some of the best-preserved buildings, as well as an amphitheatre, theatre, forum, bathhouses, bars and brothels. The fountains in the street, worn where thousands of people have rested their hands to take a drink; the stepping stones, wheel ruts; the graffiti on house walls. Travelling by the best routes to avoid the crowd we visit several villas which have only recently re-opened to the public. Many of our Guide Lecturers have excavated at Pompeii and will introduce the very latest research that is shedding light on this extraordinary site and thus, the whole Roman world.
DAY4 Today we marvel at the exceptional collections of artefacts at the National Archaeological Museum at Naples. Many of the best wall-paintings and statues were brought here in the early years of the excavations. More poignant, perhaps, are the tableware, glass beads, dice and other incidental objects of everyday life. After lunch in Naples, we continue to Pozzuoli to see one of the best-preserved amphitheatres in the world. We explore the passage-ways where gladiators would once have awaited their fate... In the afternoon we will visit the cavernous Piscina Mirabilis at Misenum, usually closed to the public. This gigantic cistern stored water for the Roman fleet and fed the towns of the Bay of Naples.
DAY5 We go off the beaten track to the villas of Stabiae, an exclusive Roman resort for the very wealthy. The vast Villa San Marco is one of the most opulent along this coast - and remains very impressive in its scale. TheVilla Ariadne gives wonderful views over the Bay of Naples and is remarkably little visited. We walk through the grand rooms, chambers and gardens in splendid isolation. Free time this afternoon to return to Pompeii or relax.
DAY6 We visit the town of Herculaneum, which perfectly complements a visit to Pompeii. The town was buried to a much greater depth than Pompeii. Here, you wander streets with almost complete Roman houses rising on either side, preserved up to their rooftops in some cases! Until relatively recently it was thought that most of the population of Herculaneum escaped the eruption. However excavations have now uncovered over 300 skeletons of townsfolk who had taken refuge in boat chambers along the shore. After lunch we visit another ‘hidden gem’ of the Bay of Naples, the modest farm-house that has been discovered at Boscoreale, named the Villa Regina, now with a fine small museum.
DAY7 Our final full day, we ascend to the great volcanic crater of Vesuvius. Most of our journey is by bus, but the last part requires a short walk. We are rewarded with amazing views both down into the crater and out across the Bay of Naples, putting everything we have seen during the week into perspective. After lunch we spend the afternoon at the villa at Oplontis; buried and preserved, the villa is thought to have been the home of Poppea, wife of Nero. It is grander even than those at Stabaie and makes a fitting end to our tour.
Prices all included: 2,180 US Dollars/1,950 Euros
Take a look at Rick Steve's Video on Naples and Pompei