On our three-day pre-voyage extension, we’ll show you a great deal of Naples’s essence. You’ll see the historic center, a World Heritage Site, with one astonishing work of art and architecture after another. You’ll have a panoramic view from atop a hill overlooking the extraordinarily lively city and the Bay of Naples. Then, visit Pompeii, abruptly destroyed by Vesuvius in A.D. 79, and witness its extraordinarily well-preserved homes. Deepen your understanding of the events that unfolded in the ancient city with a guided tour of the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, where you’ll see many of the artifacts found in Pompeii. Among the treasures the museum showcases are the exquisite sculptures of the Farnese Marbles collection.
Itself a piece of history, you’ll stay at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio along the waterfront, where Neapolitans from all walks of life come to stroll and enjoy themselves, and just steps from Castel dell’Ovo where, legends says, Virgil places a magic egg into the foundation. We hope you’ll join us.
Day 1-2 - U.S./Naples
Transfer on arrival to our hotel, the historic Grand Hotel Vesuvio, located on the Naples waterfront facing the imposing Castel dell'Ovo. The remainder of the day and evening are free to enjoy strolling the waterfront and dine on your own.
Day 3 - Naples
This morning we explore the Centro Storico, the historic center of Naples—planned originally by the Romans as the great city of Neapolis. It retains its vibrancy today, with lively streets, great architecture, and the buoyant personalities of its residents. We visit the great cathedral—the Duomo—built originally in the 14th century and greatly modified over the years, which contains great art, some of which dates to as early as the 4th century. We continue to the remarkable Basilica of Santa Chiara, beautifully rebuilt after World War II, with extraordinarily colorful tilework in the cloisters that vividly depict 18th-century life. Visit the Sansevero Chapel, whose crowning glory is the renowned “Veiled Christ” statue, made of marble. The folds of the veil are astonishingly realistic and a major artistic achievement. Lunch is on your own. In the afternoon we drive to the district of Vomero, on a hill overlooking the Centro Storico and the sea, with Vesuvius visible in the distance. Here we visit the Certosa and Museum of San Marino, set in a former monastery. The artwork, much of it from the 1600s, the statuary, the marble inlays, and the architecture are remarkable. After our visit we have a drink at an overlook, taking in spectacular views over Naples. A Neapolitan-style dinner tonight is served at a fine restaurant near our hotel. (B,D)
Day 4 - Pompeii/Naples
“Darkness fell, not the dark of a moonless or cloudy night, but as if the lamp had been put out in a dark room,” wrote Pliny the Younger. The story of Pompeii is well known: when Vesuvius erupted on August 24 in A.D. 79, this thriving, elegant, wealthy Roman city was buried in pumice and ash. Some 2,000 citizens perished, and Pompeii would not be rediscovered for some 1,500 years. Today, the buildings and other structures are in a remarkable state of preservation, allowing us to visualize with precision what life was like for the inhabitants. Exquisite wall paintings and some ancient graffiti tell us their preoccupations. Walking the 2,000-year-old streets, we’ll explore some of Pompeii’s villas, the forum, the splendid amphitheater (which seated 12,000), along with its temples. Enjoy lunch and then the rest of the day at leisure in Naples. (B,L)
Day 5 - Naples/Embark
This morning we check out of our hotel, then visit the renowned National Archaeological Museum of Naples, a repository of some the greatest sculpture, bronzes, ceramics, paintings, mosaics, and Roman jewelry of ancient times, much of it unique. It has been enriched over the years by finds from Herculaneum, Pompeii, and other excavation sites, with treasures including the Farnese marbles. Look among other things for the sculptures of Hercules and Venus—and for the Farnese Bull, thought to be the largest preserved sculpture of antiquity.
Lunch is included at a local restaurant. This afternoon, we take a walking tour of some of Naples’s most beautiful spots, seeing Piazza del Plebiscito, created in the early 1800s. The impressive Royal Palace is here, along with the glorious, domed church of San Francesco di Paola. You’ll pass the Teatro di San Carlo, the oldest opera house in Europe and still a vital place for opera and other performances. We’ll then transfer to Sea Cloud to begin our voyage. (B,L)
Costs & What's Included
Accommodations as shown in the itinerary, or similar; meals as shown in the itinerary; services of a local guide throughout the extension; tips to local guides, to porters and to waiters for included meals; airport arrival transfer to the hotel for any flights.
Tips to waiters for meals that are not included, items of a personal nature such as laundry, internet access, and alcoholic beverages.