Pompeii and the Classical Wonders of Campania
The region of Campania in southwest Italy is blessed with a dramatic coastline, a perfect Mediterranean climate and a host of ancient ruins. The most famous of these is Pompeii, a once thriving seaside town whose existence came to an abrupt end one August day in AD 79, when the nearby volcano Vesuvius erupted with cataclysmic force and snuffed out all life in the town. Since its rediscovery in 1748 Pompeii has been a major tourist destination, offering as it does a unique insight into the lives and times of ordinary people from two thousand years ago, with many of the streets and buildings uncovered and excavated to reveal an astonishingly well-preserved example of a Roman town.
Equally revealing are the nearby remains at Stabiae and Herculaneum, where even some of the rooftops have been preserved. Other highlights include the fascinating site of Paestum, which shines a light on the world of the ancient Greeks and the Archaeological Museum in Naples, home to many of the most significant and illuminating finds from Pompeii and other sites. We also take a close-up look at Vesuvius itself, the volcano which brought unimaginable horror to the local inhabitants yet in doing so has allowed us to share in their lives two millennia later.
Your Departure date
Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £395
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Day 1 -
We depart from London on a direct flight to Naples and on arrival, we transfer to our comfortable hotel in this vibrant, hot-blooded coastal city. A welcome drink and dinner is served in the evening.
Day 2 -
After breakfast, we begin with a visit to the fascinating site at Paestum, known in ancient times as Poseidonia. Long before the Romans came, this was a thriving Greek city that was part of greater Greece from the 6th century BC and today it remains an atmospheric and enchanting site. We will stroll around the impressive temples, some of them are among the most well-preserved anywhere in the Greek world.
Following an opportunity for lunch (not included), we will visit the Paestum Museum, which houses the unique, painted archaeological monument, ‘Tomb of the Diver’, dated to around 480 BC. This museum boasts impressive collections of Prehistoric, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age pottery. The evening will be spent at leisure.
Day 3 -
Following breakfast, we depart on a full day visit to Pompeii, the thriving Roman seaside town which was tragically drowned in lava following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The town was buried under 23 feet of ash, which solidified with rain and time, preserving everything as if it was in a time capsule. Hidden for centuries, excavation work revealed an elegant resort with complete streets, beautiful villas and sculptures, as well as an amphitheatre, theatre, forum, bath-houses, bars and brothels. Now, almost four-fifths of the original city has been unearthed and many of the treasures are housed in the National Museum in Naples. Our evening is at leisure.
Day 4 -
Enjoy your breakfast. This morning we visit Herculaneum, which was destroyed in the same eruption, but, unlike Pompeii, it was mainly affected by pyroclastic flows, thus preserving the wooden objects such as roof tops, building beams, beds, doors, and even food. Moreover, Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii, possessing an extraordinary density of fine houses, and far more lavish use of coloured marble cladding. Herculaneum is also a much more compact site and has fewer visitors, but is certainly no less fascinating.
In the afternoon we return to our host city of Naples, which was first settled by the Greeks in the second millennium BC, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban areas in the world. We visit the Archaeological Museum, noted for its works from Greek, Roman and Renaissance times, including artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum. These include glass beads, dice and other objects that poignantly reflect everyday life.
We conclude today at the Flavian Amphitheatre, one of the most impressive in the world, thought to have been built by the same architects who constructed the Colosseum in Rome, during the reign of the emperor Vespasian (AD 69-79). Evening at leisure.
Day 5 -
After breakfast we travel to Stabia (Stabiae), which was an exclusive Roman resort for the very rich, and visit two of the villas. The vast Villa San Marco is one of the most opulent along this coast and it remains very impressive in its scale. It originally consisted of just a few rooms, but was extended at some point during the Claudian period where both a swimming pool and garden were added. The Villa Arianna gives wonderful views over the Bay of Naples and features grand rooms, chambers and gardens, all in splendid isolation.
On our way back to Naples, we will visit the great volcanic crater of Vesuvius. The majority of our journey will be by coach, but the final part requires a short walk that is well worth the effort and also allows the opportunity to observe the different coloured layers of lava. On arrival at the summit we are rewarded with magnificent panoramic views both down into the crater itself and across the Bay of Naples. This is a good chance to reflect on how the volcanic eruption at once ended the lives of many people, but at the same time preserved their homes and way of life for us to experience centuries later. Evening at leisure.
Day 6 -
Following breakfast, we check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for our flight to London, where the group will disperse.
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Meals - as per the itinerary
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single Supp.||Availability|
|5 November 2020||BPOM201105||5 November 2020 (Thursday)||10 November 2020 (Tuesday)||£1,395
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