Eleven days of dolce vita in one of the most magnificent coastal areas in the entire Mediterranean, with fabulous sights such as the ruins of Roman Pompeii, mighty Mount Vesuvius, the superb Amalfi Coast, the jet-set island of Capri, the amazing Greek temples of Paestum, and the unforgettable city of Naples. Conducted by historian Jacques R. Pauwels, PhD, author of ‘Beneath the Dust of Time: A History of the Names of Peoples and Places’ (London, 2009).
Evening departure from Toronto on Air Canada’s non-stop flight to Rome. Dinner and a light breakfast will be served on board.
Arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport around 9AM. A private coach will be waiting to take us via the Autostrada to Sorrento, a distance of about 280km. En route, visit to the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Monte Cassino, site of one of the major battles in World War II. On to Sorrento, the world-famous resort on the shores of the beautiful Bay of Naples, where we check into the centrally located four-star/first-class Hotel Michelangelo, our home for the next eight nights (http://michelangelohotel.it/en). Time to settle in and relax, and dinner at the hotel.
Sorrento is one of the most beautiful resorts in all of Italy, and indeed of Europe. It is spectacularly situated in a verdant setting of orange, lemon, and olive groves, on a high ridge overlooking the blue waters of the magnificent Bay of Naples and, in the distance, the mighty hulk of Mount Vesuvius . . . In the 1800s, Sorrento became an obligatory stop on the European “Grand Tour” and welcomed famous visitors such as Byron, Keats, Scott, Dickens, Goethe, Wagner, and Nietzsche. The great Italian poet Torquato Tasso was born here in 1544. With a population of around 18,000, Sorrento is also an important centre for arts and crafts, specializing in lace and inlaid wood. The beauty of Sorrento is celebrated in a famous song, “Torna a Surriento,” here performed by the legendary Italian tenor Enrico Caruso: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm42AWUGkjc
After breakfast, leisurely walking tour of Sorrento, including sights such as Tasso Square, the Cathedral, the busy shopping area, and the public gardens, with wonderful views of the Bay of Naples. Also visit to the exquisite Correale di Terranova Museum with paintings, sculptures, and other art objects from the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as a fine garden overlooking the Bay of Naples (http://www.museocorreale.it). Afternoon at leisure.
Morning coach tour of the Sorrento Peninsula, which juts out between the Bay of Naples to the north and the Bay of Salerno to the South. You will pass through quaint villages like Sant’Agnello, Massa Lubrense, Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi, and Positano, enjoying fabulous views of the two bays, dotted with islands such as Capri, Ischia and Procida. We will also visit a traditional farm cultivating olives and lemons and producing byproducts such as jams, soaps, and of course the famous limoncello liqueur, which you will be able to taste! Afternoon at leisure.
Full-day excursion to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. In Pompeii, thorough visit of the world-famous ruins of the prosperous Roman city which was buried by the ashes of Vesuvius, to be brought to light by archaeologists almost two thousand years later! On to the Amalfi Coast, unquestionably the most beautiful stretch of coastline in all of Italy, with exuberant Mediterranean vegetation, breathtakingly steep cliffs, ruins of ancient watchtowers, and quaint fishing villages. The town of Amalfi used to be an independent, wealthy and powerful “maritime Republic” in the Middle Ages, and its ornate cathedral contains the tomb of the Apostle Andrew. Weather permitting, there may be an opportunity to enjoy a boat tour in Amalfi. Return to Sorrento in time for dinner.
Full-day excursion by boat to Capri, home of the international jet-set and possibly the most beautiful island in the Mediterranean. Arriving in the port of Marina Grande, we motor by minibus to the picturesque hilltop community of Anacapri, offering amazing views of the island and the surrounding sea! Visit to the superb villa of the Swedish author Axel Munthe, followed by time for lunch. On to the town of Capri for a leisurely walking tour, followed by free time to enjoy a cappuccino or an ice cream, shop, and/or explore the town on your own. Weather conditions permitting, an optional visit may also be offered to the famous Blue Grotto. Return to Sorrento in late afternoon.
Day at leisure. This morning we recommend a visit to Sorrento’s colourful weekly street market on Via San Renato, a paradise for shoppers and photographers! (https://www.summerinitaly.com/guide/street-market-in-sorrento) In the afternoon, optional sidetrip to Ercolano for a visit to the ruins of the Roman town of Herculaneum, destroyed together with Pompeii by the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Please note: on account of the different way in which it was destroyed, namely covered by mud rather than hot ashes, the ruins of Herculaneum are very different from those of Pompeii! Price: approximately $50; please note that this optional tour needs to be booked prior to departure from Canada.
If interested in ancient history, you should not miss our optional full-day tour to Paestum with its Greek temples and fine museum with the marvelous painting of “the diver,” as well as the famous old university town of Salerno with its fascinating cathedral. The price is approximately $100, and this option also needs to be booked prior to departure from Canada. This evening, opportunity to enjoy a traditional Neapolitan show of music and dance, including the popular Tarantela, in a local nightclub! Price, including a drink: approximately $50; it will be possible to book this option locally.
Your last full day in Sorrento is entirely at leisure.
After breakfast, departure from Sorrento. We motor to the great seaport of Naples, founded more than 2,500 years ago by Greek colonists who called this settlement Nea Polis, “new city.” First, panoramic tour of major sights such as the harbour with Castel Nuovo and Castel dell’Ovo, the former Royal Palace, and the famous San Carlo Theatre. Second, guided visit to the superb National Archaeological Museum, the world’s most important Roman museum, bursting with artefacts ranging from marvelous bronze statues to everyday household utensils, gladiator helmets and other weapons, wall paintings, and mosaics - found in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other archaeological sites in the Naples area, complemented by the amazing Farnese collection of Roman sculptures originally discovered in Rome. After our lunch break, we continue via the Autostrada to Rome, where we will stay in the four-star/first-class Holiday Inn EUR Parco dei Medici, located in a residential district on the western outskirts of the site, close to Fiumicino Airport (www.holidayinn.com/rome-parcoi). Dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.
After breakfast, short transfer to Fiumicino Airport by hotel shuttle service, and return flight to Toronto via Montreal with Air Canada, departing around 10AM and arriving around 5PM.
- Return flight Toronto-Rome with Air Canada, including all airport taxes, security fees, and fuel surcharges; - Accommodation in four-star/first-class hotels, based on double occupancy - the single room supplement is $495; supplement for “double room used as a single”: $615 - Breakfast and dinner except dinner on day 9; - Airport transfers, sightseeing and visits as outlined in the itinerary; - Services of our tour escort.
-Beverages with meals -Items of a personal nature; and travel insurance, available upon request.