Pompeii, Herculaneum & Classical Campania

Pompeii ruins
Pompeii ruins
John Shepherd in action at Pompeii
John Shepherd in action at Pompeii
Pompeii ruins
Pompeii ruins
Pompeii ruins
Pompeii ruins
Ancient pottery at Pompeii
Ancient pottery at Pompeii
Artwork within Pompeii
Artwork within Pompeii
Ancient artefacts at Pompeii
Ancient artefacts at Pompeii
Guests having lunch at Pompeii
Guests having lunch at Pompeii
Paestum
Paestum
Paestum
Paestum
Paestum
Paestum
Paestum museum
Paestum museum
Paestum museum
Paestum museum
Paestum museum
Paestum museum
Paestum museum
Paestum museum
Paestum Museum
Paestum Museum
View over Herculaneum
View over Herculaneum

Nowhere in the world could give a deeper insight into Roman life than the dramatic seaside towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Before the eruption of Vesuvius these were thriving, lively seaside towns - Pompeii, a trading town equipped with many bars, shops and brothels, while Herculaneum was an affluent elegant town.

All this came to an abrupt halt, however, one Autumnal day in AD 79 - when Vesuvius - which had done little more than rumble for years - erupted with cataclysmic force. Two thousand years later, the sites of the Bay of Naples confront the modern visitor with a vivid, haunting immediacy like nothing else in the ancient world. In some cases we even know the names, professions and personal histories of the people who owned the villas and shops we visit.

Your guide lecturer will bring to life the ordinary people of Pompeii, Herculaneum and beyond. This is an exciting time for visitors to these Vesuvian towns, as new discoveries are constantly being made, and new houses constantly opened up. Lose yourself in the past, walking the ancient streets in the footsteps of gladiators, slaves, senators and citizens...

2019 Highlights

  • Private access to the Piscina Mirabilis, the largest cistern in Europe
  • Visit off the beaten track villas at Stabiae
  • Walk through the evocative Herculaneum
  • Explore the unique National Museum of Naples
  • Climb the crater of Vesuvius and experience its magnitude

 

 

 

 

  

 

2020 Highlights

  • Private access to the Theatre of Herculaneum, off site and haunting
  • Private access to the Cave of Sejanus/Grotta of Seiano and the adjoining villa of Pausilypon with its dramatic coastal views.
  • Visit off the beaten track villas at Stabiae
  • Explore newly opened houses in Pompeii
  • Private access to the store rooms at Paestum, where we see Lucanian painted tombs normally closed to the public

Themes

  • Romans
  • Historic Churches
  • Ancient Greek

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • Low Single Supplement
  • Just One Hotel

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

Today we depart from London and arrive in the beautiful bay of Naples.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

Our day begins with a visit to the fascinating site at Paestum, ancient Poseidonia. Long before the Romans came, this was a thriving Greek city that was part of greater Greece from the 6th century BC. During our time in this atmospheric and enchanting area we will wander among the mighty temples. It is interesting to note that some of them are among the most well-preserved anywhere in the Greek world. Following a leisurely lunch, we will visit the Paestum Museum, which houses the unique, painted archaeological monument, ‘Tomb of the Diver’, which is dated to around 480 BC. This museum boasts impressive collections of Prehistoric, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age pottery.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We devote a whole day to Pompeii. No other site can compare in revealing the scale and proportions of a Roman town. We visit some of the most well-preserved buildings, as well as an amphitheatre, theatre, forum, bath-houses, bars and brothels. The fountains in the street are worn where thousands of people have rested their hands to take a drink, wheel ruts are carved into the street, and Roman graffiti still marks house walls. Travelling by the best routes to avoid crowds, we visit several villas that have only recently re-opened to the public. Many of our guide lecturers have excavated at Pompeii and will illuminate this extraordinary site with their expertise.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Day 4

Today we marvel at the exceptional collections of artefacts at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. Many of the best wall-paintings and statues were brought here in the early years of excavations. More poignant, perhaps, are the glass beads, dice and other objects that reflect everyday life. After lunch, we move on to Pozzuoli to see one of the most impressive amphitheatres in the world. Later, we gain special access to the cavernous, giant cistern Piscina Mirabilis, which is specially opened up for us. It stored water for the Roman fleet and fed the towns in the area.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

Go off the beaten track to the villas of Stabiae, an exclusive Roman resort for the very wealthy. 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. During our visit there, we will walk through the grand rooms, chambers and gardens, all in splendid isolation. Later in the afternoon, we can indulge in a little free time, either to return to Pompeii for more independent touring or to just soak up the atmosphere and relax. The culture, history and heritage that can be found in this area will simply enchant you.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

The town of Herculaneum, which perfectly complements a visit to Pompeii, is our next port of call. This location was buried to a significantly greater depth than Pompeii and here, we can wander streets with almost complete Roman houses rising up on either side that, in some cases, have been preserved up to their rooftops. Herculaneum is a much more compact site and has fewer visitors, but is certainly no less fascinating. We will stop to enjoy lunch and then afterwards, we explore another hidden gem in the Bay of Naples - a modest farm-house that was discovered at Boscoreale. This rustic farm-house is named Villa Regina and has an interesting museum nearby. The area that surrounds this villa would have been agricultural in Roman times, producing wine and olive oil, and there are vines growing outside in the gardens today. 

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

On our final full day, we ascend to the great volcanic crater of Vesuvius. The majority of our journey will be by bus, but the final part requires a short walk which will be well worth the effort. Upon arrival, we will be rewarded with magnificent panoramic views both down into the crater itself and out across the Bay of Naples. Walking up to the crater is an experience as we will observe different coloured lava rock that sits in layers. This time to reflect is sure to put everything we have seen and experienced during the week into perspective.

After lunch, we will continue onto the impressive villa at Oplontis. This villa was supposedly owned by Emperor Nero and was both destroyed and subsequently preserved by Vesuvius’ eruption. Excavations have taken place in more than 100 rooms and some of the spaces boast sumptuous frescoes and amazing decorative detail. This particular villa is even more grand than those found at Stabaie, and this stop makes a truly fitting end to our fantastic tour. 

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

Today we transfer to the airport where we bid farewell to our group and depart for our flight to London.

Meals: Breakfast included

Itinerary 2020

Day 1

Today we depart from London and arrive in the beautiful bay of Naples.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

Our day begins with a visit to the fascinating site at Paestum, ancient Poseidonia. Long before the Romans came, this was a thriving Greek city that was part of greater Greece from the 6th century BC. During our time here, we wander among the mighty temples. It is interesting to note that some of them are among the most well-preserved anywhere in the Greek world. After lunch, we visit the Paestum Museum, famed for its archaic metopes and its painted tombs. Here, we will have private access to Lucanian painted tombs normally shut to the public, including an intact tomb which was fortuitously seized from smugglers. We also view the famous ‘Tomb of the Diver’, which is dated to around 480 BC.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We devote a whole day to Pompeii. No other site can compare in revealing details of everyday life in a Roman town. We visit some of the most well-preserved buildings, including its amphitheatre, theatre, forum, bath houses, and bars. Fountains are worn from use, wheel ruts are carved into the street, and the walls are adorned with graffiti and paintings. Travelling by the best routes to avoid crowds, we also visit several houses that have only recently reopened to the public. Some of our Guide Lecturers have excavated at Pompeii and all know it exceptionally well, illuminating this extraordinary site with their expertise.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Day 4

Today, we marvel at the exceptional collections of artefacts at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. Many of the best wall paintings and statues were brought here in the early years of excavations. More poignant, perhaps, are the glass beads, dice and other objects that reflect everyday life. After lunch, we move on to Pozzuoli to see one of the most impressive amphitheatres in the world. Later, we gain private access to the Cave of Sejanus, an impressive tunnel dating to the age of Augustus, which gives  access to the lovely seaside villa of Pausilypon, once owned by Publius Vedius Pollio who named it ‘respite from cares’ because of its opulence and incredible views. Here, we visit a theatre and odeon, built at a later date.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

Go off the beaten track to the villas of Stabiae, an exclusive Roman resort for the very wealthy. The vast Villa San Marco, with its swimming pool and bath complex, is one of the most opulent along this coast and it remains very impressive in its scale. The Villa Arianna, with its wonderful frescoes, is remarkably little-visited and provides wonderful views over the Bay of Naples. During our visit, we will walk through the grand rooms, chambers and gardens – all in splendid isolation. Later in the afternoon, there is some free time. Use it to return to Pompeii, do some independent exploring or just relax and soak up the charming Italian atmosphere. The culture, history and heritage in this part of the country is simply enchanting.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

Today, we ascend to the great volcanic crater of Vesuvius. The majority of our journey will be by bus, but the final part requires a short walk, which will be well worth the effort. The walk starts at Monte Somma, the crater of the AD 79 eruption, where we grasp the scale of it. After the ascent and peering into the crater being forged since the ancient eruption, you will see fumaroles and the layers of previous eruptions, while walking around the perimeter of the crater affords magnificent views over the Bay of Naples. On good days, you can even make out Pompeii. This time to reflect is sure to put everything we have seen and experienced into perspective. After lunch, we will continue on to the impressive villa at Oplontis, which boasts sumptuous frescoes, a bath complex, an enormous swimming pool, and interesting slave quarters. This villa was supposedly owned by Emperor Nero and was both destroyed and subsequently preserved by Vesuvius’ eruption. Excavations have taken place in more than 100 rooms and this particular villa is even more grand than those found at Stabiae.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

The town of Herculaneum, which perfectly complements a visit to Pompeii, is our last port of call. This seaside city was buried to a significantly greater depth than Pompeii — under 23 metres of pyroclastic to be exact — perfectly preserving every-day objects as well as houses up to their rooftops. Here, we can wander the streets with almost complete houses rising up on either side. Herculaneum is a much more compact site and has fewer visitors, but it is certainly no less fascinating than Pompeii. In addition to the site, we explore the Antiquarium, newly opened after 44 years, and which houses precious articles found along Herculaneum’s sea front, including a well-preserved boat. After lunch, we have private access to Herculaneum’s theatre, which is off - site and is still buried by the pyroclastic flow – a poignant reminder of the wealth of the city and its horrific end.

Hotel: Hotel Scapolatiello
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

Today we transfer to the airport where we bid farewell to our group and depart for our flight to London.

Meals: Breakfast included

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - Most meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

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2019 Tour Details

Tue 10th September - Tue 17th September

Call for Availability

Guaranteed Departure

£1,940

inc.

sgl supp: £165

POM19G

Led By: Tony O'Connor

Mon 16th September - Mon 23rd September

Call for availability

Guaranteed Departure

£1,925

inc.

sgl supp: £165

POM19H

Led By: Diana Blumberg

Mon 23rd September - Mon 30th September

Call for Availability

Guaranteed Departure

£1,920

inc.

sgl supp: £165

POM19I

Led By: John Shepherd

Mon 30th September - Mon 7th October

Available

Guaranteed Departure

£1,925

inc.

sgl supp: £165

POM19J

Led By: Dr Gillian Shepherd

Mon 7th October - Mon 14th October

Available

Guaranteed Departure

£1,899

inc.

sgl supp: £165

POM19L

Led By: John Shepherd

Mon 21st October - Mon 28th October

Available

£1,895

inc.

sgl supp: £165

POM19O

Led By: Dr Eireann Marshall

Mon 28th October - Mon 4th November

Available

£1,895

inc.

sgl supp: £165

POM19P

Led By: John Shepherd

Tue 12th November - Tue 19th November

Available

£1,895

inc.

sgl supp: £165

POM19R

Led By: Dr Eireann Marshall

2020 Tour Details

Mon 6th January - Mon 13th January

Available

£1,845

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20J

Led By: John Shepherd

Tue 18th February - Tue 25th February

Available

£1,895

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20K

Led By: Doru Bogdan

Mon 16th March - Mon 23rd March

Available

£1,945

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20A

Led By: Dr Eireann Marshall

Mon 20th April - Mon 27th April

Available

£2,045

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20B

Led By: Tony O'Connor

Mon 27th April - Mon 4th May

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£2,045

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20C

Led By: Ben Kane

Mon 11th May - Mon 18th May

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£2,145

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20D

Led By: Doru Bogdan

Mon 25th May - Mon 1st June

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£2,145

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20L

Led By: Diana Blumberg

Mon 27th July - Mon 3rd August

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£2,345

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20M

Led By: John Shepherd

Mon 7th September - Mon 14th September

Available

£2,145

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20E

Led By: John Shepherd

Mon 14th September - Mon 21st September

Available

£2,145

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20N

Led By: Dr Jamie Sewell

Mon 28th September - Mon 5th October

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£2,145

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20F

Led By: Dr Gillian Shepherd

Mon 5th October - Mon 12th October

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£2,045

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20G

Led By: Tony Wilmott

Mon 12th October - Mon 19th October

Available

£2,045

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20H

Led By: Tony Wilmott

Mon 19th October - Mon 26th October

Available

£2,045

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20O

Led By: Dr Simon Elliott

Mon 2nd November - Mon 9th November

Available

£1,895

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20I

Led By: Dr David Rudling

Mon 9th November - Mon 16th November

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£1,945

inc.

sgl supp: £175

POM20P

Led By: Mark Corney

Mon 14th December - Mon 21st December

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£2,045

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sgl supp: £175

POM20Q

Led By: Tony Wilmott

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