Naples History & Classics Tour
School History and Classics Trip to Naples
The City and the Bay of Naples in the Italian region of Campania encompasses some of the most famous archaeological sites known to antiquity. Chief among these are Pompeii and Herculaneum which were lost in the cataclysmic eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. Many of the treasures that have been excavated over the past century can be seen in the wonderful archaeological museum in Naples itself. Other sites worthy of exploration include the Etruscan city of Capua where the gladiatorial amphitheatre would have surpassed in size that in Rome. Further south beyond Salerno lies the ancient Greek city of Paestum, famous for three ancient temples. Our tour can also include an excursion to the island of Capri where you can discover the Villa Jovis, the retreat of the Emperor Tiberias and mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus.
The itinerary featured here is intended to give you inspiration and an idea of what you could do on your tour. Your trip will be created individually by one of our travel advisors to match your requirements and budget.
Flight to Naples. Herculaneum and Sorrento
Fly to Naples: You are met on arrival by your local guide and see some of historic Naples.
Herculaneum: This afternoon you visit the ancient city of Herculaneum, buried in mud in the same cataclysm that destroyed Pompeii. Herculaneum was struck by a series of cataclysmic pyroclastic flows which covered it with a deep layer of volcanic mud and ash. Herculaneum it is notable for the high standard of preservation of the houses a number of beautiful frescoes may be seen. The Roman seashore has been exposed during the excavations and a Roman boat has been preserved in a special museum.
Sorrento: You then transfer to your hotel on the beautiful Sorrento peninsula.
Pompeii and Vesuvius
Pompeii: This morning you head to the famous Roman ruins at Pompeii which give a fascinating glimpse into Roman life. In AD 79 the fury of Vesuvius was unleashed upon this prosperous city, killing many of its inhabitants and burying it under a thick layer of pumice and ash. Today, the excavations reveal the ruins of the city’s amphitheatres, forum, baths, streets and splendid houses, some with their elaborate frescoes still visible.
Vesuvius: In the afternoon you make the exciting hike to the summit of Vesuvius in the company of a specialist local guide. A steep 30-minute hike leads to the desolate, lunar-like summit. Standing next to the crater’s edge you may see steaming vents, a reminder that while Vesuvius is dormant, it may yet erupt again. Indeed, the last eruption was as recently as 1944. You can hike around the crater rim where you get spectacular views of Naples and the Bay.
Paestum and the Amalfi Coast
Paestum: Today we learn about Magna Grecia with a visit to the ancient city of Paestum. The ancient Greeks began to settle in southern Italy during the 8th and 7th centuries BC and as the Roman Empire expanded, Greek cities such as Paestum were eventually absorbed into it. The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three splendid Doric temples dating from about 550 to 450 BC and which are dedicated to the Gods Neptune, Athena and Hera. Paestum is also famous for its tomb paintings, the best-preserved of these being the Tomb of the Diver which dates to the 5th century BC and is in remarkable condition.
Amalfi Coast: In the afternoon you explore the beautiful Amalfi Coast where pastel-hued towns such as Praiano, Ravello and Positano lie terraced into the hillsides and spectacular roads hug the cliffs and coastline. From late Spring to Autumn the vivid colours of bougainvillea and an intense fragrance of lemon contribute to the undoubted charms and make the Amalfi Coast unmissable
Capua and Spartacus. Naples Archaeology Museum and Flight Home
Capua and Spartacus: Although not nearly as well-known as the Colosseum in Rome, the Gladiatorial amphitheatre at Capua is the second largest ever built. In antiquity modern Capua was called Casilinum and dates to around 600 BC. In the Roman Empire the city stood on the Via Appia and was an important staging post. The amphitheatre was built by the Emperor Augustus and could seat 60,000 spectators who watched as wild animals and gladiators were hoisted from subterranean vaults by winches to take part in the combat spectacular. During the fall of the Roman Empire Capua was sacked and destroyed in 456 AD by the Vandals led by Gaiseric, soon after they had plundered Rome. In the nearby museum you can learn about the Gladiators, their training and their lives and it was here in 73 BC that the revolt of the slaves led by Spartacus broke out.
Naples Archaeological Museum: In the afternoon you visit the Naples Archaeological Museum where many of the treasures of Pompeii and Herculaneum are housed. One of the highlights is the Secret Room where erotic art, previously thought too scandalous for the public to see, is now on display.
Flight Home: You then transfer to the airport in Naples for your homeward flight.
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