- Discover Rome's ancient highlights at the Colosseum and Roman Forum
- Soak in the Italian culture as you explore Rome's streets
- Visit the incredible ruins of Pompeii, preserved by Mt. Vesuvius’ eruption
- Spend time enjoying sunshine, fresh seafood, and medieval 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||Self-Guided Vatican City Visit||Rome|
|Day 4||Half-Day Pizza Making & Wine Tasting Experience from Rome||Rome|
|Day 5||Rome to Sorrento, Pompeii en Route||Sorrento|
|Day 6||Capri and Anacapri Day Tour from Sorrento||Sorrento|
|Day 7||Free Day in Sorrento||Sorrento|
|Day 8||From Sorrento the Amalfi Coast||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 9||Vespa Tour of the Amalfi Coast||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 10||Wine Tasting and Vineyard Visit||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 11||Free Day on the Amalfi Coast||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 12||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, to tuck into a well-deserved meal.
Day 3: Self-Guided Vatican City Visit
Take the day to visit the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica on your own. Altogether, we recommend giving yourself 4-5 hours to see everything these famous sites have to offer.
You'll start your self-guided visit in the Vatican Museums. The Vatican is not only rich in history, but also in art, housing some of the most important Renaissance masterpieces in the world. You'll visit the Pio Clementio Museum, plus the Gallery of the Candelabra, the Gallery of Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Geographical Maps. These vast halls hold one of the world's largest art collections, so be sure to take your time, usually about 2-3 hours.
Continue through the museums to the Raphael Rooms, where you can admire the frescoes before entering the incredible Sistine Chapel. The line here can be quite long, so give yourself an hour or so to line up, walk through, and visit at your pace.
Only being part of a tour will allow you to go directly from the Sistine Chapel, at the end of your visit to the Vatican museums, into Saint Peter's Basilica. If you're not part of a tour, you'll be made to exit the Sistine Chapel outside, where you can line up again to enter St. Peter's Basilica. The wait time can vary, but allow yourself about 1-2 hours just in case, plus time to visit St. Peter's, the largest church in the world.
Keep in mind that it's a one-way trip through the Vatican museums- take your time exploring at your own pace instead of rushing to the Sistine Chapel, as you won't be able to head back after.
Day 4: Half-Day Pizza Making & Wine Tasting Experience from Rome
Today, head outside of Rome for a local pizza making and wine experience in the nearby town of Frascati. Known for its local products and wines since ancient times, Frascati is easily reached via a 25-minute train ride from Rome. Take the morning to learn about the history of the town and its renowned local food, including slow-roasted pork and jug wine. You'll feel the sense of community as your local guide takes you around and chats with the local shop owners and artisans.
Visit one of the remaining wood-burning ovens in Frascati, daily filling the nearby piazza with an incomparable aroma. Enjoy the mouthwatering smell and feeling of tranquility in this peaceful haven with views of Rome in the distance, before getting down to the business of the day, cooking! The secret is in the simplicity- with just five ingredients you'll make authentic pizza dough from scratch. Your pizzaiolo is passionate about his craft and eager to show you the secrets to making the perfect pizza.
Your pizza maestro will walk you through the ingredients you need, and give you step-by-step instructions through the process- from kneading and flattening the dough to adding the perfect toppings. Pop it in the wood-burning oven as you begin to learn about the local Frascati wines from your expert guide. Paired together perfectly, you'll try a few before sitting down to enjoy your pizza fresh from the oven.
Head back to Rome in the afternoon on the same train and take the rest of the day to explore the sights and sounds of the city. In the evening, check out the upscale Prati neighborhood, brimming with art nouveau architecture and trendy eateries.
Day 5: Rome to Sorrento, Pompeii en Route
In the morning, head to the train station and catch your train in the direction of Naples. Your final destination today will be Sorrento, your jumping off point to the Amalfi Coast, but first you'll make a fascinating stop. Visit 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 of all kinds from jars to furniture were frozen in time, and even those unfortunate citizens of the empire, unable to flee the oncoming ash, were perfectly preserved. A stroll through 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, continue on your way to Sorrento, where you'll check in to your hotel and settle in for the evening. Head to Piazza Tasso in the center of Sorrento for dinner and drinks.
Day 6: Capri and Anacapri Day Tour from Sorrento
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 along the Sorrentine coast to the Port of Sorrento, where you'll catch a hydrofoil to Capri, about a 20 minute ride. 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," located inside a hollowed sea cave. Afterward, we recommend spending the remainder of the afternoon soaking in the sunshine on the beach, before catching the hydrofoil back to Sorrento for the evening.
Back in Sorrento, head to a waterfront restaurant for dinner to soak in the view and be sure to try Spaghetti e Vongole, spaghetti with clams, a local favorite that can't be missed.
Day 7: Free Day in Sorrento
Today is a free day to explore the city. You could soak in the sunshine in Piazza Tasso, Sorrento's largest and most popular gathering place. If shopping is on your mind, stroll from the piazza down Corso Italia, a busy street lined with shops and boutiques.
Here are some other options for activities in Sorrento:
- Go shopping at the colorful Via San Renato street market, a weekly open-air market selling 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 sandy beach (the perfect place to relax after a delicious meal).
- Tour the nearby coastal city of Salerno and the ancient Greek city of Paestum (the site contains some of the world's best-preserved Greek temples).
- Enjoy a private sommelier-guided wine tour of two prestigious estates in Campania’s rugged Apennine Mountains.
In the evening, head to the Puolo neighborhood for dinner. Its crescent beach and waterfront promenade are popular with locals.
Day 8: From Sorrento the Amalfi Coast
After a leisurely breakfast, it's time to make your way down and around the Sorrentine Peninsula to the Amalfi Coast. 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 waters.
After arriving at your new accommodation, soak in the views of the coast and sunshine as you stroll through these colorful villages. For dinner, head to the village of Ravello, known for its lemon specialties, where you can pair your delicious meal with a citrus cocktail.
Day 9: Vespa Tour of the Amalfi Coast
Just south of the Gulf of Naples lies the Sorrentine Peninsula, featuring the 24 miles (40 km) of Italy's famed Amalfi Coast. This entire region is one of the most storied and beautiful parts of the country, boasting a long history dating back to ancient Rome. Notable citizens of the empire were the first to come here to build seaside villas. There's no better way to explore this singularly gorgeous stretch of coastline than on two wheels—particularly those attached to a Vespa.
This full-day Vespa tour begins and ends at your accommodation along the Amalfi Coast. The pebbly beaches and clifftop views made it a prime destination for Europe's literati and aristocracy from the 17th century onward. From the Amalfi Coast, you'll zip along with your experienced driver to the charming fishing villages whose homes are resplendent with bright colors. The tour finishes with a ride along the stunning coastline, famous for its terraced lemon groves and vineyards, after which you'll return to your accommodation.
All in all, the route follows 46 miles (75 km) of some of the most incredible coastal landscapes on Earth. Even better, you'll get to stop along the way for tours and, should you choose, to relax on the beach and take a dip in the water. No need to worry if you've never been on a Vespa: your expert guide and driver will take care of zipping along the coastline so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
Head to the village of Amalfi to finish off your day with fresh seafood and a Delizie al Limone, lemon delight, for dessert to cap off your day.
Day 10: Wine Tasting and Vineyard Visit
Enjoy a full day tour of a local 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 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 date 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 11: Free Day on the Amalfi Coast
Today, you are free to explore and enjoy the leisurely coastal pace of life. Go for a walk on the Lemon Path in the town of Minori, or try your hand at windsurfing or kayaking near the shores of Praiano. You can see artisanal ceramics manufacturers in the town of Vietri, or go for a half-day hike on the Path of the Gods. Of course, simply lazing on the beaches of Positano, Vettica Maggiore, and Centra is also an excellent option.
Other suggestions include:
- Visit the beautiful Villa Cimbrone and Terrace of Infinity in Ravello.
- 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 bucolic 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 12: Depart Naples
Time to say goodbye to Italy - for now! Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!