From the sleepy towns of the Amalfi Coast to Rome's buzzing nightlife, this 12-day itinerary has something for everyone. Go wine tasting, tour the ruins of Pompeii, and take a day trip to the island of Capri, Ancient Roman's favorite summer getaway. End your trip with five days in the capital city of Rome to see the world-famous Vatican and explore family-run cafes and old city streets.

Highlights

  • Tour the incredible halls and basilicas of the Vatican
  • View the incredible ruins of Pompeii, preserved by Mt. Vesuvius’ eruption
  • Visit the old-time cliffside villages of Positano and Amalfi
  • Make—and eat!—the perfect Italian meal
  • Go back in time to Ancient Rome with a tour of the Colosseum

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rome & Transfer to Amalfi Coast, Positano Sunset Cruise Amalfi
Day 2 Capri and Anacapri Day Tour Amalfi
Day 3 Wine Tasting, Marisa Cuomo Vineyard Amalfi
Day 4 Free Day on the Amalfi Coast Amalfi
Day 5 Amalfi Coast to Sorrento, Afternoon Cooking Class Sorrento
Day 6 Pompeii and Herculaneum Day Tour Sorrento
Day 7 Free Day in Sorrento Sorrento
Day 8 Sorrento to Rome, Afternoon Colosseum and Forum Tour Rome
Day 9 Vatican & Classic Tour of Rome Rome
Day 10 Galleria Borghese Tour Rome
Day 11 Free Day in Rome or Ostia Rome
Day 12 Goodbye Italy!  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rome & Transfer to Amalfi Coast, Positano Sunset Cruise

View of Positano from the water
View of Positano from the water

Welcome to Italy! Arrive in Rome, then take a high-speed train to Naples on the coast before making your way to your hotel in Amalfi. This stretch of coastline south of Naples is renowned for its exceptional beauty and iconic medieval cliffside fishing villages. Lemon groves and sprawling summer villas cling to the steep cliffs that lead to sparkling blue water. 

In the afternoon head onto the water with a sunset boat tour to Positano from Amalfi. With its steep houses tumbling down to the sea, old-timey hotels draped in flowering vines and restaurant terraces Positano is an obvious favorite with travelers looking for a getaway. Soak in the views of the coast and the Tyrrhenian Sea from the boat as you enjoy a glass of Prosecco and some light aperitifs. Swim or snorkel in the clear blue waters, or simply enjoy the view. 

Disembark in Positano for a romantic dinner with ocean views. Enjoy a pasta dinner with fresh seafood, paired with a glass of fruity Falanghina. Return to Amalfi for the night.

Day 2: Capri and Anacapri Day Tour

Views from the Via Krupp
Views from the Via Krupp

Spend the day enjoying the sunshine, summer villas, and clear blue waters of Capri Island, known locally as the Pearl of the Mediterranean. Capri sits on the south side of the Gulf of Naples and is a popular destination. Ancient Romans used the island for summer villas for the Empire's rich and famous, while the Greeks called Capri the 'Isle of Sirens.' 

In the morning head out for a scenic drive along the Sorrentine coast to the Sorrento port, where you'll catch a hydrofoil to Capri. From here go for a guided walking tour of the island's main attractions. See the main harbors (Marina Grande and Marina Piccola), walk along the Belvedere of Tragara (a villa-lined promenade with panoramic views), and explore the ruins of ancient Roman villas. 

Head up the hill to see Anacapri, the Piazzetta, and Augustus' Garden, as well as the best views of the Faraglioni Rocks. 

In the afternoon return to the water to explore the Grotta Azzurra, a naturally hollowed sea cave, and soak in the sunshine on the beach.

Day 3: Wine Tasting, Marisa Cuomo Vineyard

Vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean
Vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean

Enjoy a full day tour of the Marisa Cuomo Winery and experience the magic of the Amalfi Coast vineyards. The steep slopes, sunny weather, warm breeze that blows from the Gulf of Salerno make the region perfect for growing wine grapes. 

Tour the vineyard, one of Italy's most renowned, and learn about the traditional techniques and dedication to excellence which has earned Marisa Cuomo Winery both national and international recognition. Visit the estate's cellars and vineyards, taste the various wines, and enjoy the views.

In the afternoon, enjoy the sunny weather with one of these recommended activities: 

  • Tour a Mozzarella farm and the Paestum Temples, which dates back to 600 to 450 BCE
  • Enjoy nature in the Villa Cimbrone, a beautiful garden in Ravello
  • Soak in the sun at the Gavitella Beach (Vettica Maggiore), Lannio Beach (Centra), and Arienzo Beach (Positano)
  • Get an adrenaline rush with a windsurfing adventure in Praiano

Day 4: Free Day on the Amalfi Coast

Lemons, a staple of the Amalfi Coast
Lemons, a staple of the Amalfi Coast

Today is a free day to explore the area and enjoy the pace of life on the coast. Go for a walk on the Lemon Path in Minori or see the illuminated sea cave Grotta dello Smeraldo. See the local ceramics manufacturing process in Vietri, or go for a half-day hike on the Path of the Gods

Other suggestions include: 

  • Visit the beautiful Villa Cimbrone and Terrace of Infinity in Ravello 
  • Soak in the sunshine on Gravitella Beach in Vettica Maggiore, Lannio Beach in Centra, or Arienzo Beach in Positano
  • Try your hand at windsurfing in Praiano
  • Check out Praiano's nightlife at the Africana and Music on the Rocks nightclubs 
  • Rent a kayak and explore emerald green grottos, tiny hidden beaches, and impressive sea caves 
  • Enjoy a quiet day in the serene town of Atrani, far away from the hustle and bustle of the larger villages 
  • Explore the Fiordo di Furore, Italy's only fjord
  • Visit the Cloister of San Francesco in Sorrento, an oasis of tranquility that's located steps away from the town's historic Sant'Antonino piazza 
  • Enjoy nature in the Ferriere Valley Nature Reserve, famous for its postcard-perfect fishing villages and striking countryside crisscrossed with hiking trails

For dinner head to a family-run restaurant for the best Italian pizza paired with a glass of the perfect local wine.

Day 5: Amalfi Coast to Sorrento, Afternoon Cooking Class

Cozy street side cafe in Sorrento
Cozy street side cafe in Sorrento

After a relaxing breakfast, say goodbye to the Amalfi Coast and head north to Sorrento. Sorrento is a long-time favorite with Italian and international travelers for its beautiful views, tranquil atmosphere, and cascading lemon terraces. The city's focal point is the Piazza Tasso, a central square built over a gorge that splits the city. Other notable attractions include the beautiful nearby Marina Piccola bay, the Villa Pollio Roman ruins in Capo di Sorrento, the Sorrentine Peninsula Archaeological Museum, the 11th-century Duomo, and the Basilica di Sant'Antonino, which houses the remains of the city's patron saint. 

In the afternoon learn how to prepare traditional Italian dishes during a 4-hour cooking class at the Sorrento Cooking School. The school is the first of its kind in Sorrento and offers daily cooking lessons for amateur cooks and for those looking to enjoy a day of learning about Italian flavors and ingredients from a talented local chef. 

You'll learn about traditional Italian dishes including pasta, pizza, fish, and local desserts, as well as the techniques for preparing the perfect dough and the perfect garnish for each dish. Finish the course with a delicate pastry, then sit down to enjoy your hard work with a delicious meal. Buon appetito!

Day 6: Pompeii and Herculaneum Day Tour

Ancient street in Pompeii
Ancient street in Pompeii

Spend the day exploring two of the area's most notable attractions, Pompeii and Herculaneum, on a full-day guided tour. 

Start with a tour of the ruins of Pompeii, a bustling seaside city that was buried underneath 13-20 ft (4 to 6 m) of ash and volcanic debris after the 79 CE eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The ash, which killed many of the city's residents, acted as an archaeological time capsule by preserving many of the city's original buildings and features completely intact. 

The city was lost for 1,500 years following Mount Vesuvius' eruption before its accidental rediscovery in 1599. Items from jars to furniture were frozen in time, and even people who were unable to flee the oncoming ash were perfectly preserved. The walking tour of Pompeii's ancient streets will show off preserved villas, shops, public buildings, and plazas, giving you an insider's look into life 2,000 years ago. Afterward, stop in a local workshop to see the production process for various regional handicrafts, such as cameos and coral jewelry. 

Break for lunch, then continue to Herculaneum, the nearby city that was also buried by the ash. During ancient times the city was a holiday resort for the Roman nobility and wealthy. Today it is a manufacturing center for leather goods, buttons, glass, and the wine known as Lacryma Christi (Tear of Christ). Your guide will show you around the city, pointing out key differences between this site and Pompeii. 

Return to Sorrento in the evening.

Day 7: Free Day in Sorrento

View from a hotel terrace
View from a hotel terrace

Today is a free day to explore the city. Select from the following suggestions to make the most of your time in Sorrento:

  • Soak in the sunshine in Piazza Tasso, Sorrento's largest and most popular gathering place. It's crossed by Corso Italia, one of Sorrento's best shopping streets 
  • Go shopping at the colorful Via San Renato street market, a weekly open-air market for everything from clothes to household items, to fresh produce and delicious cheeses
  • Get lunch in Marina Grande Beach, Sorrento's fishing village that's famous for its seafood restaurants and volcanic sand beach (the perfect place to relax after a delicious meal) 
  • Head to the Puolo neighborhood for its shallow beach and waterfront promenade (this area is popular with locals)
  • Take a day trip to nearby Mount Vesuvius, the infamous volcano which buried Pompeii 2,000 years ago
  • Tour the nearby coastal city of Salerno and ancient Greek city of Paestum (the site contains some of the world's best-preserved Greek temples) 
  • Enjoy a private sommelier-guided wine tour in the Irpinia region to visit two prestigious wine estates in Campania’s rugged Apennine Mountains

Day 8: Sorrento to Rome, Afternoon Colosseum and Forum Tour

The ancient Roman Colosseum
The ancient Roman Colosseum

After a relaxing breakfast, it's time to say goodbye to Naples. Catch a high-speed train back to Rome, then check in to your hotel. 

According to legend, Rome was founded by brothers Romulus and Remus in 753 B.C.E. atop Rome's Palatine Hill. The long-time center of the powerful Roman Empire, Rome boasts nearly 3,000 years of architecture, history, and culture. These days, Italy's capital is considered one of Europe's top cities thanks to its ancient monuments, incredible art masterpieces, and cosmopolitan vibe. It's a center for fashion with buzzing food culture and has a growing nightlife scene. 

Visitors and locals wanting to soak in the sunshine flock to the beautiful Giardino degli Aranci, the city's vibrant orange tree gardens on Aventine Hill, or relax in the lush greenery of the Villa Borghese Gardens

In the afternoon, dive into the history of the Roman Empire with a walking tour of the Colosseum, the world's largest amphitheater. Walking through the ancient amphitheater is like taking a trip back in time to the days of the Roman Empire. Learn about some of ancient Rome's most famous and illustrious citizens, such as Julius Caesar, Emperors Augustus and Nero, and the Flavian Emperors who built the Colosseum. 

After visiting the Colosseum, continue to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Walk along the ancient Roman street Via Sacra to see the Temples of Vesta, Antonino, and Faustina. See the ancient Basilica Julia and Aemilia and experience the grandeur of the Roman Empire.

Day 9: Vatican & Classic Tour of Rome

St. Peter's Square and the Vatican
St. Peter's Square and the Vatican

Today you will visit the Vatican City museums and Sistine Chapel, as well as other top sights for an exclusive 6-hour tour of the city's incredible art and history. Start at the Vatican, where you'll visit the Pio Clementio Museum, Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries, and Gallery of the Geographical Maps

Continue to see the magnificent Raphael Rooms, ending in the breathtaking Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Experience the magic of Renaissance art as you learn about the secret details and untold stories of the masterpieces. 

Afterward, continue into a city for a tour of the city's most notable landmarks. Cross Piazza della Repubblica to see the Fountain of the Nyands, then continue to see the Trevi Fountain, La Colonna di Marco Aurelio, and the Palazzo di Montecitorio, which was designed by Bernini.

Admire the exterior of the Pantheon and head inside for a look at the ancient Roman temple, then head to Palazzo Madama—the Senate seat—ending at Piazza Navona.

End your evening with a stroll to the neighborhood piazza for gelato and some people watching.

Day 10: Galleria Borghese Tour

Exhibition of Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Exhibition of Gian Lorenzo Bernini

In the morning stroll through the tangle of narrow streets in Centro Storico, one of Rome's most iconic historical districts, to see classical Roman and Baroque architecture and style. 

In the afternoon, join a guided tour of Galleria Borghese, one of the world's premier art museums, to see works by extraordinary artists Bernini, Caravaggio, Canova, and Rafaello. The gallery's highlights include sculptures and paintings from Cardinal Scipione Borghese’s collection (1579 - 1633). 

Admire Caravaggio's most important paintings, including "Boy with Basket of Fruit", and see Bernini and Canova's sculpture collection, boasting works such as "Apollo and Daphne" and "David". Rafaello's "Entombment of Christ" is also a must-see. 

Walk through the ornate rooms of the Galleria Borghese and explore the splendid frescoes, stories, and masterful techniques behind the of world's most beautiful art museums. End the tour with a peaceful stroll around the Villa Borghese gardens, enjoying its beauty and calm far from the chaos of the city.

Day 11: Free Day in Rome or Ostia

Sun-filled street in Trastevere
Sun-filled street in Trastevere

Today is a free day to explore the city. Suggested activities include:

  • Visit the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo history museum 
  • Tour the Renaissance Villa Farnesina  in the Trastevere district
  • Visit the historic and fascinating neighborhood of Testaccio to see the giant Monte Testaccio, an ancient pile of discarded olive oil jars from the 2nd century 
  • Spend an afternoon at the Musei Capitolini, the oldest and one of the best museums in Italy

Or, head out of the city for a day at the Ostia beach for miles of sand and warm sea.

In the evening head back to the Trastevere neighborhood for dinner at an osteria or a trattoria, followed by drinks at a trendy wine bar.

Day 12: Goodbye Italy!

Little details of life in Rome
Little details of life in Rome

Time to say goodbye to the country of love! After one last cappuccino over breakfast, head to the airport for your connecting flight home. Safe travels!

Map

Map of Relaxed Amalfi Coast & Rome - 12 Days
Map of Relaxed Amalfi Coast & Rome - 12 Days