Arrive Naples and drive either to our hotel on the Miglio d’Oro in Herculaneum.
Travel south to the coastal plain which was once the terrain of the Greek colony of Poseidonia, later the Roman town of Paestum. This is the opportunity to understand the development of the region in antiquity, from Greek colonisation to the early Middle Ages. Three impressive Doric temples still stand from the Greek city, and their continued use for up to a thousand years shows how artistic styles, religious practice, technology and commercial and political considerations changed with time.
We spend today exploring the streets and buildings of Pompeii. This is a whole Roman town, with a complete wall-circuit, and two-thirds of the interior has been excavated over more than 250 years. It contains the story of a fairly ordinary Roman town in the 1st century AD, the first natural disaster for which we have an eyewitness account, and also the development of archaeology from the treasure-hunt it was in the 18th century to the forensic science it is today.
This morning we visit Herculaneum, the perfect complement to our Pompeii visit. This harbour town was closer to Vesuvius, and was buried by a pyroclastic surge which raised the present ground level by 25 metres. A much smaller area has been excavated, but buildings are preserved to a greater height, and carbonised organic matter survived – timber, foodstuffs, rope… Walking through the tunnel to what was once the seashore, where hundreds of bodies have been found huddled in the boat-houses (but are not on display) is an unforgettable experience. We finish the day with a visit to another splendid villa at Oplontis. The relatively recent excavations here have allowed excellent preservation for the wall-paintings, and a detailed study of the gardens and the plants which were grown here 2000 years ago.
Morning visit to see the wonderful artefacts in the Naples Archaeological Museum as an introduction to the sites. It houses the extraordinary finds from the excavations not only of Pompeii, but those from other towns, villas and farms in the region. Exquisite metalwork which would normally have been melted and recycled; marble statues which would have been broken up to make lime for fertiliser; wall-paintings which would have decayed or been obliterated and plastered over - all would have been lost, had Vesuvius not exploded and buried them. Continue to the airport for our flight home.
NB Order of itinerary may change according to winter flight schedules.
“This was the first Andante holiday... It was just magical and I loved it. The Naples museum - seeing all those famous objects for real. It was often impossible to believe they were ancient, so perfect, such amazing craftmanship. So much was packed into such a short time but I never felt rushed or overloaded. It was one of the best holidays I have ever been on!”
- Flights - Scheduled flights with BA from London Gatwick to Naples
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Guide Lecturer - Dr Eireann Marshall (Jan); Tony Wilmott (Oct). Not to be confused with "guest lecturers"! The guide lecturer will be with you from breakfast to supper, and probably even a drink in the bar afterwards. There is the occasional site where they may not be allowed to guide because of local regulations but otherwise the guides are just that. They will have been chosen because of specialist knowledge and their ability to communicate and interest you. After 29 years of making tours worldwide, we are highly appreciative of the attributes of a good guide, and intensely critical of people who do not possess them
- Tour Manager - We never know how best to call the very special people whom we choose to accompany you on your tour. They are usually employed in this capacity only by us, and have been trained to do things in the Andante way - unobtrusive, friendly and quietly efficient
- Meals - All meals included (dinners with wine & water) except lunch Days 3. Other lunches in trattorie / pizzerie
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
4 nights in grand hotel converted from a palazzo on the Miglio d’Oro (Golden Mile of once wealthy houses) in Herculaneum, close to the excavations. It has beautiful gardens.
|Wed 15th - Sun 19th Jan 2014 with Dr Eireann Marshall
|Thu 23rd - Mon 27th Oct 2014 with Tony Wilmott