Join us for an exploration of the lesser visited areas around Naples. We will visit Herculaneum, if you thought you knew this site think again as we will be one of the first people to see the newly opened boat house and museum. Long closed but a must on the 18th Century Grand tour where tourists were shown around by candlelight. We will visit the temples at Paestum before moving on to Cumae, home to the cave of the Sybil as featured in Virgil’s Aeneid. After stopping at Averno Lake, surrounded by dark woods and believed to lead to the underworld, we will drive on to see the Flavian Amphitheatre of Pozzuoli. Our last stop will be in Baia where we will take a glass bottom boat over the sunken city where mosaics, walls and a nymphaeum can be seen.
We will stay in a beautiful hotel overlooking the sea with breathtaking views. The food and wine of the south cannot be beaten and we will taste a variety of all on offer.
Our flight will arrive in Naples in the morning. Our private coach will take us to the Grand Hotel Santa Lucia. After check-in and a quick freshen-up, we will have a brief introduction to Naples and its history before walking across to the Borgo Marinari to have lunch at the marina.
After lunch we will head over to the centro storico to see the preparations for the feast day of San Gennaro at the cathedral. We will first visit the Western world’s oldest baptistery. We will then immerse ourselves in Caravaggio’s Seven Acts of Mercy at Pio Monte delle Misericordia, followed by a walking tour through the vibrant remains of the Greco/Roman/Baroque streets. We will return to the hotel via the metro, providing the opportunity to see a unique scheme for station design using contemporary artists. If there is time, we will pop into Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano to see the last painting that Caravaggio created before his death. Dinner will be at a great place a short walk from the hotel.
Our bus will pick us up at 9:00am to take us to Paestum, on the edge of the Cilento national park, to the south of Naples. The northern most ancient Greek city during the period of Magna Grecia. Its temples rival anything in Greece and Sicily. It is one of the few sites where you can get a sense of scale by getting inside the structures. Lunch at a good place we know near the museum.
After lunch we will visit the site museum, which displays a wealth of artefacts from the temples and graves discovered nearby, including the magnificent and iconic Tomb of the Diver. The bus will take us back up to Naples in time for dinner at a restaurant in the atmospheric Spanish Quarter, that is famous for its delicious risotto.
Boarding our bus first thing we will head to Herculaneum. If you thought you knew Herculaneum think again, because we will be one of the first people to see the newly opened boat house and museum. Long closed since, but a must on the 18th century Grand Tour where tourists were shown around by candlelight. Unlike Pompeii, Herculaneum is an ongoing research site with new finds uncovered every year, the new innovation is setting up an open air museum, adding artifacts to rooms to give a sense of living and commerce. New light is being shed around the actual date of the eruption. Lunch at an intimate restaurant located on the Miglia d’Oro, once upon a time the most exclusive street in the Bay of Naples.
Boarding our bus after lunch, we will return to Naples to visit the Catacombs of San Guadioso, in the characterful district of Sanità. Recently discovered, these catacombs offer an astonishing glimpse into the cult of death and noble burial practices during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when Naples was one of the richest cities in Europe. the most poignant, beautiful fresco of the Tomb of the Diver. We will then drive to our hotel in Posillipo arriving late afternoon. Supper near our hotel.
Trojan, Anchises’ son, the descent of Avernus is easy.
All night long, all day, the doors of Hades stand open.
But to retrace the path, to come up to the sweet air of heaven,
That is labour indeed.
— Aeneid 6.126-129.
We will take our bus to go back to a time before Neapolis, to the beginning of Magna Grecia at Cumae. The oldest Greek settlement on mainland Italy, it is home to the cave of the Sybil as featured in Virgil’s Aenid on his quest for insight and omens. The Sybil is pictured in Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling and Raphael’s painting in Santa Maria Della Pace. It was the most revered oracle for the Romans and her books of prophecy became the basis of all that was Roman. A magical atmospheric place mentioned by T.S Eliot, Seutonius and Ovid amongst other literary giants. We will make a panoramic stop at Lake Averno, once thought to be the entrance to the underworld, Turner created several landscapes here on his Viaggio in Italia. The deep lake, surrounded by dark woods, was believed to lead to the underworld.
We will go to Pozzuoli for lunch, near the Temple of Serapide. In the afternoon we will head to Baia. Named after one of Ulysses’ sailors, it was once the most architecturally innovative playground of the elite, where Nero and others built spectacular bathhouses, ports and villas. The Monte Carlo or Hamptons of ancient Rome. We will take a glass bottom boat over the sunken city of Baia where mosaics, walls and a nyphaneum can be seen. Dinner that evening at the Marina.
After a leisurely breakfast we will head to the airport for our flight home.
Tuition – Steve Nelson and Marie Naffah will lead the trip. Steve has lived in the south of Italy and is passionate about the region’s art, history, customs and food. Marie has travelled and taught for several years in Naples and the surrounding area.
Hotels – We will stay at the Grand Hotel Santa Lucia, a smart palazzo with stunning views over the Bay of Naples and the Castel dell’ Ovo. All rooms are executive deluxe with sea views. It is in an excellent area, close to good restaurants and shops.
Ability – There is a lot of walking on this trip, as well as uneven terrain and steep slopes. The days are also pretty busy. As is the case for all our courses, there is a lot of standing while we discuss the works we are looking at. Please also be aware that there is quite a bit of driving.
Flights – We do not book the flights thus allowing you to travel to suit your budget, use airmiles, travel between different airports or on different dates. We recommend buying the following flights with British Airways:
Transport – There will be a private coach for the airport transfer to meet the recommended flights. We will mostly walk in Naples and take the metro. Outside of Naples we will travel by private air-conditioned coach. Due to the nature of the trip there is a bit of driving. Most journeys are no more than 30 minutes, but the longest From Paestum to the hotel is 1 1/2 hours.
Cost – The fees are £1550 which includes accommodation and breakfast, all lunches, transfers for the recommended flight, transport when connected with teaching, entrance fees, tuition, boat trip, reading lists and local advice. The single room supplement is £200 (double room for single use). Please state on the form if you would be happy to share. Not included are the flights, all suppers, travel insurance. The group will not exceed 16 people.
The application form should be returned with a deposit of £600.00. Please call 01379 871800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.
NB you must buy your own flights.