Rome and Naples - The Grandeur of Ancient Rome

Present day Rome and Naples are covered with archeological sites and ruins that together form a picture of what urban life was like in the ancient world. We will outline the history of the Roman people from the arrival of Aeneas, through Romulus, through the rise of the Roman Republic.  Once we see that estimable republic collapse in corruption and civil war, we turn to Imperial Rome as the engine of Western Civilisation for over four more centuries (and, in fact, for a thousand years more as what we now call the Byzantine Empire, and even more, for we today are a continuation of Greco-Roman civilisation).  This story is not completely told in Rome itself, for Naples is home to the two sites (Pompeii and Herculaneum) where urban life in the Roman empire is best preserved.  Then there is the rest of infinite Naples to experience, her throbbing intense street life, her sense of wild architectural exuberance of shapes and colours, all deepened by shadow of the decay of a great matriarch, and that is only baroque and Bourbon Naples. The story we will tell begins with ancient Greece and prophetesses in caves and continues through “the Versailles of the South”.

This tour is open to anyone interested in an intellectually challenging tour of Ancient Rome and Naples.

Dates: TBA (please contact us)

Cost: €2950 

ITINERARY

Rome and Lazio

Day 1. We'll meet you at the airport and travel by bus to our hotel in the heart of home. You'll have a few hours to settle in and lunch nearby on your own (we'll supply recommendations). Once everyone is arrived, we'll have an orientation in the lobby of the hotel. We'll take a walking tour in the late afternoon, visiting Michelangelo's steps and Piazza Campodoglio for an overlook of the Roman Forum. Then we'll descend into the insole excavation a brief tour before returning to the hotel. In the evening we'll have a welcome dinner at Di Tirambo Trattoria in Campo di Fiori (included). (Hotel: EXE della Torre Argentina, Corso Vittorio Emanuale II).

Day 2. At 0830, following a light breakfast in our hotel, we'll walk to Piazza Venezia and visit the Trajan Column and Forum, the Forums of Augustus and Caesar, and visit the Mamertine Prison. We'll make a detailed tour of the Roman Forum, including the Arches of Titus and Constantine. Lunch on your own near Colosseum (we recommend Hostaria Isidoro). In the afternoon we'll visit the Colosseum, Domus Aurea, and San Clemente, before walking back to the hotel for a rest. Dinner (included) at Ristorante Lattina in the Jewish Quarter and overnight at EXE della Torre Argentina, Corso Vittorio Emanuale II.

Day 3. At 0830 we'll depart by bus to visit the Baths of Caracella, then visit the Circus Maximus, Palatine View, Tempio di Vesta, Tempio della Fortuna Virile, Theatre of Marcellus, and the Isola Tirburina overlook. From there we'll go by bus to Castel Sant'Angelo where we'll have lunch (on your own). After lunch we'll go by foot across Ponte Sant'Angelo, crossing the fascinating Via Coronati to Piazza Navona. Then we'll visit Sant'Agnese, St. Ives, St. Maria della Pace, and pause for an espresso in Piazza Navona (considered the best in Italy). We'll walk from there back to the hotel discussing Pasquinade, the Theater of Pompey, Campo de Fiori, and the Palazzo Farnese. Dinner (included) at the wonderful restaurant La Pollorola in Campo di Fiori and overnight at EXE della Torre Argentina.

Day 4. We'll take the 830am bus across Ponte Vitt. Emmanuelle and walk up Via Conciliazione to Piazza San Pietro, discussing Bernini. We'll spend the morning exploring "St. Peter's" Bascilica, viewing Michelangelo's Pieta, and with time to visit the dome. Lunch on your own around Piazza San Pietro (suggested: Insalata Ricca) followed by an afternoon visit to the Vatican Museums, including the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel. We'll drive back to the hotel, and you'll have dinner on your own near the hotel. Overnight at EXE della Torre Argentina.  

Day 5. 0830, we'll spend the morning exploring the Christian Catacombs, followed by a visit to the Spanish steps and Keats' house. Lunch on your own in the vicinity of the Spanish steps. We'll then walk to the Pantheon, and along via del Corso, discussing the Aurelius Column, Augustan sundial, and the Trevi fountain, finally returning on foot to the hotel. After a rest we'll head up to Trastevere for an early evening walk. Dinner (included) in Trastevere (Trattoria da Lucia). After dinner you can return to the hotel on your own or take an optional walk up Gianicolo Hill above Trastevere for a stunning night view of Rome (weather permitting). Overnight at EXE della Torre Argentina.  

Day 6. Free day on your own in Rome. We can do something as a group or you might strike out on your own.

Day 7. 0800, we'll depart from Rome by bus for Tivoli, where we'll visit Villa D'Este and have lunch (on your own, we'll have recommendations). Afternoon visit to Hadrian's Villa (Villa Adriana) and dinner at a restaurant specializing in local cuisine (included). Overnight in Victoria Terme Hotel, Tivoli.  

Naples and Her Bay  

“Naples is an architectural palimsest prodigal of hidden surprises. While the foreground may be . . . a masterpiece of romantic scenery, . . . the background remains a mysterious, teeming jungle. Ho easy to lose oneself among all those clefts and crevices! How much there is to explore!”(Lord Acton)

Day 8. 0800, we drive down to Naples to culminate and perhaps climax our visit to ancient Rome. This day begins with complete walkabout Pompeii. We’ll lunch locally (on your own), then to Herculaneum, the most complete of the destroyed Roman cities. Dinner on your own[1] and overnight at Hotel Constantinople or Decumani.

Day 9. We begin with the heart of old Naples. 0900, walking visit of the old quarter or Spaccanapoli, enjoying the lively, exciting street life of this unique area. We will visit Gesu Nuovo, Santa Chiara, Cappella San Severo, and the famous streets of the presepe makers. Lunch at a favorite place in the old city center. In the afternoon, we’ll continue our walk about Spaccanapoli, ending up at one of the world’s top museums, the Naples Archaeological Museum. Dinner on your own and overnight at Hotel Constantinople or Decumani.

Day 10. Today our subject is medieval Naples, and the maritime republics. 0830, we will drive along the Bay of Naples to the Amalfi Coast to drive this priceless landscape with its lovely towns, lunching at some favorite place along this coast. We will stroll the narrow streets of Ravello and visit the panoramic gardens of the Villa Cimbrone. We will return in time to dress for dinner (incl.) and a performance of at the historic Teatro San Carlo (not incl. If no performance on this day, we’ll try to find another evening this week). Dinner (on your own) and overnight in Naples. Hotel Constantinople or Decumani. 

Day 11. We’re back to the ancient world, but now its mythic dimension. 0830, we will take a drive to visit the mysterious Bay of Baiae and the cave of the Sibyl, with a possible picnic (weather permitting) at Lago Averno, where the Sibyl took Aeneas into the Underworld. Alternatively, we will go to Pozzuoli seafront, the Roman Amphitheatre, and the Phlegraean (Burning) Fields. Dinner (on your own) and overnight in Naples. Hotel Constantinople or Decumani.

Day 12. Today our subject is the splendid Bourbon Kingdom of Naples (Kingdom of the Two Sicilies). 0830 we’ll take a taxi to the prestigious Capodimonte Museum, then continue to the unexpectedly magnificent Royal Palace and grounds of Caserta. We will return in time for you to do some wandering about old Spaccanapoli. Dinner (on your own) and overnight in Naples. Hotel Constantinople or Decumani.

Day 13. Free day to choose what you want to do. We can decide as a group to visit Capri (full day), or Ischia (full day) or the Greek Temples of Paestum (2/3rd day), or the complex of San Martino overlooking the city, or the serene Botanical Gardens, or hike on Vesuvius, or more of the wonders of Spaccanapoli, or a million other possibilities. Those who want to strike out on their own are encouraged to do so; all possibilities are yours, including perhaps just hanging out watching Naples matchless street life. Farewell Dinner (incl.) and overnight in Naples. Hotel Constantinople or Decumani.

Day 14. We will drive you to the airport for your flight home or to your continuing European adventures.

[1] When we aren’t choosing the restaurant, we will have recommendations of our favorites.

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Cost: €2950 euros (cost in £ or $ will depend on going rate) in double or twin occupancy.    

Tour Cost Includes:  

  • Bed and Breakfast accommodation on 2-person sharing basis.

  • Eleven breakfasts and six other meals as indicated in the itinerary.

  • Entrance fees for all activities mentioned in this itinerary, and only these.

  • An English-speaking guide to be with you during all activities mentioned in this itinerary and responsible for you and available 24/7 during the tour.

  • All presentations will be in English.

  • Air-conditioned chauffeur-driven bus where indicated by the words “bus” or “drive” throughout the tour.

  • All applicable government taxes, service charges, and paperwork.

Tour Cost Does not Include:  

  • Airfare to Rome Fiumicino Airport and from Naples International Airport.

  • Passport applications and fees. Passports are required for entrance into Italy. Citizens of some countries may need a visa to enter Italy. (more info here link plz).

  • Tavel or health insurance. We recommend both. (same link as on other itineraries)

  • Single supplement charge equaling 30% of the full tour cost. Our hotels charge us 80-90% of the price of a double room for a single room, so if you're traveling alone this supplementary fee will apply. We think it's unfortunate, but there's nothing we can do about it. Best to bring someone you're comfortable sharing a bed with.

  • Any activities described as “optional”, and all meals or beverages not specified as included.

  • Expenses of a personal nature (shopping, snacks, internet cafes, etc.)