Bare Bones | Essential Pompeii
Pompeii has so much to offer the intrepid traveller – and even more when explored with an expert. Our 5-day tour of the sites around Vesuvius offers you just that: the insightful company and real-life stories of knowledgeable Guide Lecturers, some of whom have taken part in Pompeii’s excavations. Ongoing discoveries here mean there has never been a better time to visit this extraordinary Roman town, which was tragically buried – and almost impeccably preserved – by volcanic ashand pumice in AD 79. A plethora of other remarkable Roman sites will help you build a full and compelling picture of ancient life as it was when Vesuvius left itsirrevocable mark. Visit Herculaneum, where the tall houses of noblemen were buried to their rooftops. Travel to Naples, for a close look at the area’s most celebrated artefacts; enter the luxurious world of Roman coastal villas at Oplontis. You will also have plenty of free time to get to know the region at your own pace – with opportunities to climb the mighty volcano yourself, or sit back with a glass of Aglianico wine in the shade of Italian pines.
- An expert-led insightful tour of ancient Pompeii
- Experience Herculaneum, with its staggeringly preserved glimpses of everyday life
- Visit the incomparable Naples Museum, home to paintings and mosaics of the Vesuvian towns
- Great Cities
- Just One Hotel
After settling in to our hotel, our group comes together this afternoon for a gentle walk through today’s Pompeii — including its famous modern cathedral — a good start to the trip, and an early chance to get to know our guide and fellow travellers.
Today we enjoy a full day in the ruins of ancient Pompeii with our expert guide. Beginning at the town’s majestic amphitheatre — the oldest Roman amphitheatre in existence — we take in a range of key sights, including bars, brothels and public squares preserved by the deadly lava flow of Vesuvius. We also delve into several lesser-known, but no less fascinating, areas of Pompeii, including villas that have only recently reopened to the public. Many of our lecturers have excavated here and your guide will be able to point out a range of fine details that most visitors miss, including scurrilous graffiti, the wheel ruts of ancient journeys past.
A local train ride brings us to Naples this morning, for an illuminating tour of the city’s superb Archaeological Museum. Don’t miss the famous collection of Farnese Marbles, extensive stone engravings from the finest Roman mosaics, frescoes and famous bronzes. This afternoon we explore the secrets of ancient Naples and walk down the ancient decumanus maximus to the underground Roman market buried beneath the church of San Lorenzo.
We visit Herculaneum, once an upmarket coastal city buried beneath 23 metres of volcanic material, which hermetically sealed the site. Here, quite unlike Pompeii, even fragile items such as wooden partitions, beds and shutters have been perfectly preserved. Also, unlike Pompeii, many of the everyday items have been left in place. Walking down Cardo IV or the Decumanus Maximus of Herculaneum, you can almost feel the presence of the ancient inhabitants and the horror they went through on that fateful day.
Today, you have the choice of returning home or having an optional tour of Oplontis via private transport, to explore the famous villa which may have belonged to Poppaea, the wife of Nero who came from Pompeii. This grandiose pleasure villa has some extraordinary frescoes and is important for having well-preserved elite living space, as well as slave quarters.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - Breakfast only
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
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