- Discover ancient legends and Rome's darker side at the Colosseum
- Explore the ancient ruins of Pompei & hike Mt. Vesuvius
- Experience the vibrant culture of Naples and try a famous Neapolitan pizza
- Visit the ancient cliffside villages on the Amalfi Coast
- Escape to the island of Capri, playground for ancient Romans
|Day 1||Arrive in Rome||Rome|
|Day 2||Visit the Colosseum & Roman Forum||Rome|
|Day 3||From Rome to Naples||Naples|
|Day 4||Street Food Tour in Naples||Naples|
|Day 5||Naples to the Amalfi Coast - Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 6||Capri Island Day Trip||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 7||Free Day on the Amalfi Coast||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 8||Depart Naples|
Day 1: Arrive in Rome
Welcome to Rome, known as the City of the Seven Hills! According to legend, Rome was founded by brothers Romulus and Remus in 753 BCE atop Palatine Hill. As the long-time center of the powerful Roman Empire, you'll find nearly 3,000 years of architecture, history, and culture throughout the city.
After arriving at one of Rome's airports, you'll transfer to your hotel in the historic center. Settle in and relax, then head out for a stroll and your first look at the Eternal City. The next few days will involve lots of sightseeing, and you'll spend your first few hours enjoying some of the highlights. Suggested activities include:
- Visit the Catacombs of Priscilla, which were originally used from the 2nd to 5th centuries as burial grounds for the elite families of Rome. The entrance was blocked for centuries to protect against grave robbers, but the catacombs were rediscovered in the 16th century. Visitors can see the original structures, as well as paintings and artifacts from various time periods.
- Stroll through the tangle of narrow streets in Centro Storico, one of Rome's most historic districts, to see classical Roman and baroque architecture.
- Stop to see the Colonna di Marco Aurelio, a Doric column with a spiral of relief sculptures. It was erected in the 2nd century to celebrate the victories of the emperor Marcus Aurelius.
- Head to the Colle Aventino, one of Rome's famous seven hills. Stroll through the Roseto Comunale, the rose garden which sits on the site of a former Jewish cemetery. Then continue to Parco Savello (Orange Tree Park), where you can find the famous keyhole that gives visitors a direct view of the Vatican. Grab a cappuccino and snack from one of the adjacent cafes.
- For an authentic market experience, stop by the Mercato dei Fiori, where locals shop for fresh vegetables, flowers, meats, and cheeses. Browse for authentic Italian pasta and other souvenirs, then take a break with coffee and a pastry at one of the many cafes surrounding the market.
For dinner, head to the Trastevere neighborhood for some of the city's best trattorias.
Day 2: Visit the Colosseum & Roman Forum
Dive into the history of the Roman Empire with a walking tour of the Colosseum, the world's largest amphitheater. Learn about the lives of some of ancient Rome's most famous and illustrious citizens, such as Julius Caesar, Emperor Augustus, Nero, and the Flavian Emperors who built the Colosseum.
Continue to the Roman Forum, where you'll see excavations dating back 2,000 years, revealing the ruins of temples, squares, religious sites, and other buildings. These were the venues for public speeches, processions, elections and, of course, gladiator matches. Historians and archaeologists refer to the Roman Forum as the most celebrated place in world history, and you'll see why as you admire its grounds.
Cut through the Roman Forum along Via Sacra, where you'll pass by the Temples of Vesta, Antonino, and Faustina. The Basilica Julia and Aemilia, a public meeting house that was commissioned by Julius Caesar, is also here.
Your tour of ancient Rome ends 131 feet (40 meters) above the city at Palatine Hill. From here you'll have incredible city views, with the Forum on one side, Circus Maximus on the other, and the Vatican in the distance. In between, the River Tiber snakes through Rome's historic neighborhoods.
In the evening, you'll have free time to continue exploring Rome. Grab dinner in one of the city's other neighborhoods, such as bohemian Monti or upscale Prati, brimming with art nouveau architecture.
Day 3: From Rome to Naples
Time to say goodbye to Rome! After breakfast, you'll head to the train station and catch your high-speed train down to Naples, the journey taking just over an hour. Naples sits on a bay near the still-active Mount Vesuvius, which buried nearby Pompeii in 79 CE. There's a lot to see and do here, so make the most of your time in Naples with these suggested activities:
- Visit the Naples Archaeological Museum to see Roman, Greek, and Renaissance-era ruins, including artifacts from nearby Pompeii.
- Tour the Castel dell'Ovo, a seaside castle located on the former island of Megaride.
- See the 16th-century Museo Cappella Sansevero, which houses thousands of veiled sculptures.
- Go underground to see the network of tunnels and passageways built under the city streets.
- Get outside and see the dormant Solfatara volcano, located a half-hour drive west of Naples.
In the evening, we recommend going for a stroll along the Caracciolo e Lungomare di Napoli, a waterfront promenade, then heading to the Quartieri Spagnoli, a lively commercial hub, for dinner at a trattoria. On the way, stop at the Toledo Metro station, the Stazione della Metropolitana dell'Arte, to see beautiful mosaic inlays.
Day 4: Street Food Tour in Naples
One great way to experience Naples is on a street food tour. You'll snack your way through the city's historic streets while visiting back-alley markets, modest bakeries, old bars, and various food stalls, on the hunt for sweet and savory eats.
You'll meet your guide in the morning and discover how Naples’ unique culinary history informs its street food scene. Meander over to the 'Mercato della Pignasecca' market. This market is abuzz with activity as vendors of local produce and fish proffer their goods.
Naples is famous for its Napolitano slice of pizza, but on this tour, you'll learn about the other culinary delights that make the city so unique. From “sfogliatella” – a sweet shell-shaped filled pastry, to the traditional cafés and espresso drinks, there's something to satisfy everyone.
With a full belly, you'll have the afternoon free to explore the city at your own pace. Continue to discover the Centro Storico of the city, and pop into one of the world's oldest pizzerias for dinner.
Day 5: Naples to the Amalfi Coast - Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
In the morning you'll leave Naples and head south to the Amalfi Coast. Along the way, stop to visit the area's most notable attractions, Pompeii and nearby Mount Vesuvius.
Start with a visit to the ruins of Pompeii, once a flourishing Roman coastal city that was famously buried under ash and volcanic debris after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 ACE. The ash, which killed many of Pompeii's residents, acted as an archaeological time capsule by preserving many of the city's original buildings completely intact.
You'll stroll the remains of Pompeii's ancient streets, which are lined with well-preserved villas, shops, public buildings, and plazas.
Afterward, visit Mount Vesuvius, which is designated as a UNESCO Biosphere World Reserve. It's a brisk 30-minute hike up a trail to the top, where you'll be rewarded with stunning views inside the crater as well as panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
After the excursion to Vesuvius, you'll continue on to the Amalfi Coast, where you'll check into your hotel and settle in for the evening.
Day 6: Capri Island Day Trip
Spend the day enjoying the sunshine and clear blue waters of Capri Island. Known locally as the "Pearl of the Mediterranean," the ancient Greeks called it the "Isle of Sirens." Capri sits on the south side of the Gulf of Naples and has been a popular vacation destination for millennia. The ancient Romans, in fact, built summer villas here for the Empire's VIPs.
In the morning, you'll head out to the Port of Sorrento, where you'll catch a hydrofoil to Capri. Visit the Marina Grande and Marina Piccola harbors, walk along the Belvedere of Tragara (a villa-lined promenade with panoramic views), and explore the ruins of ancient Roman villas.
Then head up the hill to Anacapri to see the Piazzetta and Augustus' Garden, and enjoy the best views of the Faraglioni Rocks. Should you choose, you can later return to the water and explore the Grotta Azzurra, the famous "Blue Grotto," which is located inside a hollowed sea cave. Afterward, we recommend spending the remainder of the afternoon soaking in the sunshine on the beach, before taking the ferry back in the evening.
Day 7: Free Day on the Amalfi Coast
Today is a free day to explore the area and enjoy the slower 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. Learn about 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 Ristorante Pizzeria Giardiniello in Minori for the best Italian pizza, paired with a glass of delicious local wine.
Day 8: Depart Naples
Time to say goodbye to Italy - for now! Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!