The capital of Campania, Naples is Italy’s third largest city. Located on the Gulf of Naples and inhabited since the 2nd millennium BCE, it was one of the foremost cities in Magna Graecia, a getaway for Roman emperors, prized booty for foreign invaders and a must-see stop on the Grand Tour, starting in the 18th century. Sitting above ancient catacombs, Naples is UNESCO-listed for its 448 historic churches, its oldest opera house in Europe, its outstanding archeological museum and its cornucopia of architectural styles. Food and wine are serious pursuits here – pizza originated in Naples and conquered the world! Since 2004, strict ordinances define the ingredients of Neapolitan pizza!
POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM
Dominating the Naples skyline, Mount Vesuvius is mainland Europe’s only active volcano. Shortly after midnight on 24 August 79 CE, after rumbling for days, Vesuvius erupted catastrophically. It unleashed a tidal wave of mud on Herculaneum, northwest of the mountain, burying it 20 meters (66 feet) deep. Hours later, superheated volcanic gases and debris engulfed southerly Pompeii, instantly killing anyone who hadn’t fled. Entombed in ash, the cities slept for 1600 years under the Neapolitan plain, barely remembered except for Pliny the Younger’s account. Today you can tour these partially excavated sites, a time capsule of antiquity where everyday life and sudden death rest in poignant juxtaposition.
THE AMALFI COAST
The Italians call it Costiera Amalfitana; visitors call it “WOW”! This jaw-dropping stretch of steep cliffs, cerulean sea and charming towns hugging the Gulf of Salerno coast is threaded by a two-lane highway, 40 km (25 miles) of brinkmanship pavement that cries out for an Italian sports car – with someone else driving! Fabled towns mark your progress – clifftop Sorrento, the pastel-colored buildings of Positano, the Arab-Norman Duomo in Amalfi, the mountaintop villas of Ravello, and all the picturesque fishing villages in between. Enjoy every sybaritic moment: swimming and star gazing, hiking and trendy nightlife, upscale shopping, and delicious cuisine made all the better by entrancing seaside panoramas.
Neapolitan Trio – Neapolitan ice cream, popular in the 20th century, consisted of layers of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream, perfect for people who wanted a little of everything. So it is with our top Campagna sights. If you can work it into your available time, as long as you are in Campania, it is wonderful to see Naples, Pompeii / Herculaneum and the Amalfi Coast together. While each has a distinct flavor, they complement and augment each other, providing many insights. Ask us to help you plan!
Note: All driving tours feature English-speaking drivers and are private unless otherwise mentioned. Tours are priced based on pick-up point and number of participants. All sightseeing tours are accompanied by expert local guides.