Campania Felix: Rome and the Bay of Naples
April 1 to 11, 2020
The Ancient Romans referred to the region south of Rome as the Campania Felix, or the happy, fertile countryside. For fertile, think only of the deep red tomatoes grown in San Marzano. And for happy, think landscapes, seasides, and the gentle breezes of this balmy microclimate. On our trip to the Campania Felix, we plan to visit a host of important ancient sites in the area, while also savoring the natural beauty of this happy land.
Wednesday, April 1: The tour begins in the afternoon with a visit to the Roman Forum, a suitable place to start since the Campania Felix was a favorite vacationland for emperors and senators alike. A number of new areas in the Forum have recently opened, so something new for everyone. Group dinner to follow. Albergo Santa Chiara, Rome.
Thursday, April 2: Depart Rome for the Campi Flegrei, or Burning Fields, on account of the thermal activity. On the outskirts of Naples, this area is dotted with fascinating vestiges of the ancient world: the romantic ruins at Baia, where well-heeled Romans built villas, the ancient site of Cuma, where a sibyl spewed prophesies from a cave, the small but intact amphitheater of Pozzouli, and more. Lunch along the way. Time permitting, we will pay an afternoon visit to the Certosa of San Martino with its museum of Neapolitan Christmas crèches. Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Naples.
Friday, April 3: Full day excursion to Pompeii and surrounding ancient sites. Lunch along the way. Grand Hotel Vesuvio.
Saturday, April 4: A day in Naples, starting with the Archeological Museum, where most of the moveable pieces from the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum are housed. Afternoon visit to Spaccanapoli, Naples’ lively historic center. Lunch along the way. Grand Hotel Vesuvio.
Sunday, April 5: Morning visit to Herculaneum, with lunch nearby. In the afternoon, we take the hydrofoil to Capri. Hotel Casa Morgano, Capri.
Monday, April 6: Morning stroll to the ruins of Emperor Tiberius’s Villa Jovis, where we’ll hear juicy readings from Suetonius’s steamy Lives of the Caesars. Group lunch on the edge of the sea. Afternoon free. Hotel Casa Morgano.
Tuesday, April 7: Visit Anacapri, on the other side of the island, with the delightful church of San Michele, the Villa San Michele (home of Swedish writer and physician Axel Munthe), and more. And, weather permitting, an excursion to the Blue Grotto, the original tourist trap, and for very good reason. It is astonishing! Lunch in Anacapri. Hotel Casa Morgano.
Wednesday, April 8: Morning departure for Sorrento, where we meet our bus to follow the Amalfi Coast as it winds past lemon groves, fishing villages, and sheer cliffs. Lunch in Positano. We finish the day in the beautiful town of Ravello, perched well above the sea. Our historic hotel is housed in a 12th c. Norman palace. Hotel Palazzo Confalone.
Thursday, April 9: Leisurely day in Ravello, a town with a medieval. Duomo, some beautiful gardens, invigorating walks, nice shops, and spectacular views: a day to catch our breaths before heading home. Group dinner. Hotel Palazzo Confalone.
Friday, April 10: Return to Rome with a stop at Vietri, an important ceramics center. Pasta bowls, anyone? Then on to San Leucio, a town synonymous with silk since here, in the 18th c., the Bourbon King Ferdinand IV converted his Royal Hunting Lodge into a pre-industrial silk workers community. With comfortable housing for artisans and equal rights for women, San Leucio was well ahead of its time. After a group lunch in Caserta, we return to Rome. Rome Airport Hilton.
Saturday, April 11: The tour ends with breakfast.
The cost of the trip includes one night at the 3-star Hotel Santa Chiara in Rome, three nights at the 5-star Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples, 3 nights on Capri at the 5-star Casa Morgano, 2 nights at the Palazzo Confalone in Ravello, and a final night at the Rome Airport Hilton.
Information on hotel upgrades available on request.
$5750 in Double Occupancy
$6850 in Single Occupancy
Included: 10 nights in hotels, breakfast each morning, one additional meal each day with wine, water, and coffee, private bus transportation, hydrofoil to and from Capri, all entrance fees as described in the itinerary, guide fees, and tips.
Not included: air and airport transportation, unscheduled meals, room service, items of a personal nature.
Group size: approximately 12 people.
A word about food:
Expect to eat well: abundant fish, pungent olive oil, pizza, pasta, mozzarella fresh each day, lemons, tomatoes, all the wonderful Neapolitan pastries. For me, this is the best cuisine in Italy.
For more information or to sign up:
Italian Journeys is not your average tour operation. The combination of a small group, the wonderful food, and, most of all, the outstanding knowledge of Italy, its history, art, and culture that Nancy and Libby bring to the table lift it far above other tour experiences. You do not feel like you are traveling with a corporation, but rather that you are seeing Italy with friends.
Jim and Barbara; Washington, DC