Culture of Southern Italy Tour: Naples, Sorrento, Capri, & The Amalfi Coast

A 9 day trip to Italy 
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The Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast are paradise personified with the refreshing aromas of lemon groves and olive orchards, the hills draped in lush greenery, and the radiant turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Historical towers speckle the coastline as rugged cliffs drop into the crashing indigo waves. Palaces offer insight into the opulent lives of former noble families as museums contain artifacts that provide a glimpse into the preserved past of the Roman Empire. The culture of the traditional fishing villages and ancient ruins captivate the senses to combine the beauty with the legends.

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General Information

Hotel Suite at La Ciliegina Hotel. Photo Credit: La Ciliegina Hotel
View from La Ciliegina Hotel. Photo Credit: La Ciliegina Hotel
Breakfast Room at La Ciliegina Hotel. Photo Credit: La Ciliegina Hotel
Hotel Suite Lounge Area at La Ciliegina Hotel. Photo Credit: La Ciliegina Hotel
Roof-top Terrace at La Ciliegina Hotel. Photo Credit: La Ciliegina Hotel
Hotel Window View at La Ciliegina Hotel. Photo Credit: La Ciliegina Hotel
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, Vietri, Pompeii, Phlegraean, Villa Rufolo, Capri, Conca dei Marini 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Naples – Arrive in Bustling Naples to View the Grandeur of the Past

Naples is the former capital of the Kingdom of Naples, home to a vibrant historical center, remarkable art, and an impressive collection of extravagant palaces. Your flight will lands at the Capodichino International Airport in Naples. Your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim and escort you into the bustling motion of Italy’s third largest city. Near the shores of the Bay of Naples, the breeze carries a mixture of aromas, from the refreshing scent of the Mediterranean Sea to the savory aroma of fresh dough and the homemade sauce that emanates from the pizzerias situated along the promenade. The city and the surrounding region brim with epicurean delights including pasta, brioche, and coffee. The Royal Palace at Capodimonte stands atop the central hill with a view of the city streets.

A funicular opened in the 1920s to ferry people from Central Naples to Piazza Vanvitelli, and the nearby palace shines with opulence. King Charles VII of Bourbon built the structure as a hunting lodge in the 18th century but today the structure houses some of the most important artistic works of the region. The National Museum of Capodimonte exhibits pieces by Botticelli, Caravaggio, and Titian across three floors and 160 rooms. Locals lounge on the grass area outside the rosy façade and the interior glints with polished marble floors and the prestige of master artists. At the waterfront, you can enjoy the view of the boats as they come in and out of the marina as they have for millennia. The city represents the main port of Southern Italy with the harbor at its core, in both history and focus.

What’s Included: accommodation at La Ciliegina Hotel, transfer, tour, dinner

Day 2: Naples – Enjoy a Full Day Tour of Neapolitan History with a Cooking Lesson

The aroma of brewing espresso becomes a simple pleasure in Naples. The scent drifts throughout the city and accentuates the walkways, palm trees, and open spaces near the seaside. Sailboats drift past the horizon and disappear for a day along the Mediterranean. Your guide will meet you after breakfast ready to show you the remarkable ancient life that has shaped the city and its culture, beginning with a visit to the National Archeological Museum.

King Charles II established the collection in the 18th century, and it has remained one of the world’s grandest museums to exhibit Greek and Roman antiquities. Natural light pours through the windows of the former palace and spreads across the walls and the polished marble floors. The ground floor is dedicated to the display of sculptures made mostly of marble, many of which come from the Farnese collection. As you wander, you will find the Herculaneum papyri, an assortment of 1,800 papyrus scrolls preserved in carbon after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.

The scrolls include numerous philosophical texts taken from the only surviving library of the times. A more dramatic view of the past comes in the form of the famous mosaic that depicts Alexander the Great in battle. The piece was taken from Pompeii and reaches a length of 20 feet. After exploring the museum grounds, you will visit a private kitchen near the historical city center to learn the secrets of making traditional Neapolitan pizza. The tomato sauce is already simmering on the stove when you enter the room, filling the air with sweet, garlicky notes.

What’s Included: accommodation at La Ciliegina Hotel, tour, breakfast, tour, lunch

Day 3: Sorrento – See Ancient Italy at Phlegraean Fields before Settling in Sorrento

In the morning, the Piazza Nolana fills with local vendors eager to sell their produce and seafood to the locals of Naples. Two towers that once guarded the port of the city now mark the square as food-focused Neapolitans are eager to purchase the freshest seafood in the city. Fishermen lay their morning catch over ice to present the cod and eel to the visitors as mussels and octopus are essential staples to those who have spent their lives near the old harbor.

After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to the Bacoli province, known for its unique volcanic properties illustrated well at Phlegraean Fields. The area was once considered home to the Roman god of fire due to the giant, smoldering caldera. The volcano originally erupted more than 37,000 years ago with much of the land now is now submerged in the Bay. Fumaroles steam near bubbling mud pits and Lake Avernus swells inside one of the volcanic craters, earning the waterway to be labeled the Gates of Hell.

Your guide will point out the fluctuations in the ground levels due to the magma chambers below. The earth in the area has risen nearly six feet since the 1980s, and the nearby historical town of Pozzuoli was once settled by the Greeks in the 8th century BC. The Roman influence remains strong in the preserved ruins of the half-sunken Temple of Serapide, a 1st century AD marketplace that is marked by three columns and a ring of broken pillars raised on a dais.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Sorrento – Explore Mount Vesuvius and the Preserved Ruins of Pompeii

Wake up to the perfectly slow pace of Sorrento, a seaside town that overlooks the Bay of Naples. Across the Bay rises the dramatic figure of Mount Vesuvius, a volcano infamous for the destruction and devastation of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 1st century AD. The sunlight washes over the colorful homes that frame the Marina Grande as fishing boats wade in the water, their pastel painted rims matching the bright hues of the beachside buildings. After breakfast, you will traverse the outer rim of the Bay of the Naples to make your way closer to Mount Vesuvius. At the base of the volcano, your guide will lead you to the trail that meanders up the mountainside to the top of the caldera.

The path offers a stupendous view of the Mediterranean and the sprawling metropolis of Naples. You will follow the trail for nearly 500 feet until you reach the crater’s rim. Fumaroles create pockets of steam that rise from the heated soil. A vineyard located in the foothills of the mountain crafts wines rich in minerals, which enriches the grapes as they grow. Scholars believe the wine produced on the local vineyards remain closely related to the wines once consumed by citizens of the Roman Empire. You are eager to immerse yourself deeper into the historical reaches of the region as you make your way onto the preserved streets of Pompeii, a city renowned for its discovery beneath ash and pumice stone. As you enter the city, the remaining columns of the Temple of Jupiter greet you as they adorn the edges of the Roman Forum.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Sorrento – Discover the Villages on the Bay of Naples and Taste Limoncello

In the morning, you will sip a foamy cappuccino and delight in your view of the Mediterranean Sea. The water shines with flecks of turquoise and indigo as beautiful crafts from the 17th and 19th centuries enrich the galleries at the Museo Correale, including the 18th-century villa that houses the collections. The gardens blossom with tulips, hydrangeas, and orchids and lead to a view of the water. After breakfast, your guide will meet you in the lobby ready to show you the quiet charms of the villages around the Bay of Naples.

The often-overlooked streets of Termini have enabled the locals to retain their connection to tradition and culture. The hills cascade down into the splashing waters of the Mediterranean Sea as the village has a small, main street culture that consists of a single grocer, butcher, and pharmacy. A ceramic shop displays plates and bowls made locally, along with bottles of iridescent yellow, which contain Limoncello. You will continue to Punta Campanella, the tip of the Sorrento Peninsula where a short trail leads to a Saracen tower and a modern lighthouse perched atop the rugged cliff.

You will have a pristine view of the Gulf of Naples that lead out to the island of Capri. The breeze blends the briny aroma of the water with the sweet citrus of the lemon groves that thrive in the warm climate. Your guide will lead you through the rustling leaves of the lemon groves and into the olive orchards where you will admire how the olives grow as plump as plums. In the town of Marina della Lobra, you will find a historical seafaring culture that once thrived between the 16th and 17th centuries.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Amalfi – Delight in a Scenic Drive along the Amalfi Coast and Visit Ravello

Today you will leave the quiet charms of Sorrento behind for the serene views and rich history of the Amalfi Coast. Your private transfer will lead you through the hillside and cut across the rugged mountains on a local road to circumvent the Gulf of Sorrento. The street opens up a stunning view of the turquoise Mediterranean Sea that stretches as far as the horizon as the narrow road winds along the mountain ridges for a stretch of 43 miles. Famous writers, poets, painters, and actors have enjoyed the beauty of the Amalfi Coast for centuries, basking in the mixture of dramatic landscape and gorgeous shimmering waters. You will stop first at the town of Positano to view the colorful homes built into the steep mountain slope.

Narrow cobblestone streets snake down the hillside to reach the small marina at the base of the town. The sweet aroma of lemons emanates from the shops along via Mulini, and a local artisan will craft a perfect pair of leather sandals for you while you wander around town to enjoy the scenery and culture of the coastline. You will continue to Ravello, a town nestled into the mountain ridges at nearly 1,150 feet above sea level. The garden of Villa Rufolo famously inspired Wagner to write his opera, Parsifal. The grounds were constructed in the 13th century, and traces of the medieval architecture remain as cypress and lime trees add to the layers of color against the ancient walls and Moorish cloister. The view opens up to the mountains and sea for a spectacular panorama of the beauty of the Amalfi Coast.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast

Day 7: Amalfi – Continue your Immersive View of the Culture on the Amalfi Coast

In the morning the sea breeze will brush over the cobblestone streets of the Amalfi Town. The gorgeous medieval Cathedral rises above the central piazza atop more than 60 steps. Lavish bronze doors crafted in Constantinople in the 11th-century glint in the spreading sunlight. After breakfast, the day is yours to enjoy the beauty of the coastline and the distinct pleasures of each town. The Cathedral dome in Vietri shines with glossy green, blue, and yellow hues due to the traditional majolica tiles that decorate the exterior.

Sunbathers lounge on the fine sand beaches of Cetara and Maiori beneath the old towers that face out to the sea. The water splashes against the boulders of the shoreline and overtakes your view along the road. You will reach the town of Conca dei Marini as rise the undulating slopes of the coast and breathe in the scent of the blossoming flowers and lemon orchards. A watchtower crowns the old defensive walls from the 16th century, and you will make your way to the edge of the marina to board a small fishing boat with the calm waters beneath you.

The low tide will allow for a small opening to appear in a limestone cave, and you will carefully climb through. A cool atmosphere accompanies the dipping stalagmites as the grotto was formed nearly 6,000 years ago, shaped by the elements of the sea. After pausing a moment to acknowledge the beauty of the ceiling, you will look down at the water, which glows a bright emerald. The color gives the cave the name “Emerald Grotto” as the sunlight bounces off the sea floor to create a unique reflection that lights up the cavernous space.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Capri – Traverse the Islands on the Bay of Naples and the Mediterranean

Active travelers will enjoy a chance to wander along the ridged trail known as Path of the Gods. The former goat paths connect the villages hidden in the hillsides and along the coastline. The walkways open to the pristine panoramas of the Mediterranean with limestone promontories, as they ascend with village homes. Today you will leave behind the cobblestone paths of Amalfi Town for the cliffs of the islands of the Mediterranean Sea. Make your way to the marina after breakfast to board a ferry for Capri. The island has captivated visitors with its natural beauty for centuries, including two Roman emperors.

The cliffs tower above the water at the height of 200 feet above sea level. A funicular will take you from the Marina Grande, which is framed by colorful fishermen’s homes, to the Piazzetta di Capri, a charming square with cafes that offer local treats and fresh espresso. You will bask in the luxury of the hotel and spa for an evening of elegance that overlooks the Gulf of Naples. Your hotel is located in the tranquil town of Anacapri, adjacent to the Capri Town and you will enjoy a chance to wander through the opulent boutique shops of town, accentuated by the beautiful window displays.

The aroma of lemon and creamy olive oil lingers in the air. Venture to the Gardens of Emperor Augustus to view the stunning leafy terraces as hydrangeas and ivy grow along the pergolas. The ancient archways frame the views to the Faraglioni sea stacks. The karsts rise out of the turquoise water in the distance and lead away from the emerald cliffs of the island. A walkway leads nearly 300 feet down the steep slopes to Marina Piccola along a colorful switchback trail.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Naples – Depart for Home

At breakfast, you can once again enjoy the views of Capri. The terrace of your hotel looks out to the shores of Ischia Island and the Bay of Naples. Sailboats glide across the turquoise sea and pass the incoming fishing boats. After your meal, your hotel representative will accompany you to the ferry for your scenic journey back to Naples. Upon entering the harbor, you will find the Castl dell’Ovo guarding the entrance to the city. The structure remains Naples’s oldest standing fortification, with foundations laid by the Greeks in the 6th century BC. Today, the imposing cream-colored ramparts offer a dramatic impression to those entering or departing the harbor, striking images of pirates and fairytales. Your private transfer will collect you at the harbor and escort you to Naples International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.