Our 12 day tour begins with a visit to incredible Herculaneum– the smaller, wealthier neighbor of Pompeii – and three nights on the unforgettable Amalfi Coast. Ravello, once home to ancient Roman villas, was later the second city of the powerful Amalfi maritime republic with a population of 40,000. Spectacular views, wonderful semitropical gardens, a grand open square and 11th century cathedral highlight this small piece of Italian paradise. In more recent centuries Ravello has played host to many famous composers and writers like Richard Wagner, D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf and Gore Vidal.
A boat cruise will take us to picturesque Positano and we’ll visit the maritime museum at ancient Amalfi. We’ll have a taste of limoncello at Sorrento and experience the famous Amalfi Coast drive.
Crossing the southern peninsula we’ll discover Italy’s most impressive Greek Temples at Paestum. The region of Basilicata offers the absolutely unique experience of the gorge and cave dwellings at Matera. One of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited (and poorest) cities, Matera has transformed itself into a 2019 European Capital of Culture.
Apulia, also called Puglia, is the less traveled and many treasured heel of the Italian boot. This region hosts mysterious castles and cone-shaped Trulli homes while providing the country’s best food and excellent Primitivo wines. Our historic district lodgingsarein Baroque Lecce and the white city Ostuni. This year’s tour includes Taranto – a former colony of Sparta on Puglia’s Ionian coast and Altamura, home to Italy’s best bread.
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Late morning transfers from NaplesCentral train station and airport, where you will be met by your tour manager. Our first stop is for a fascinating afternoon guided tour through the streets of Herculaneum, an ancient Roman city that remained buried for 1800 years underneath the lava flow from the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 CE.
Late afternoon arrival to Ravello. A noted resort during ancient Roman times and later part of the Amalfi Republic, Ravello has in the last few centuries been home to famous writers and composers. It has much to enjoy with its sea views, wonderful gardens, pedestrian only lanes and enormous town square.
Our three night stay at either the Hotel Villa Maria or the Hotel Villa Fraulo will begin with aperitifs and welcome dinner on the hotel balcony overlooking the stunning Amalfi Coast.
Morning at leisure.
2 pm departure for a boat cruise to colorful Positano, dramatically perched on a cliffside overlooking a deep blue sea.
Late afternoon return to Amalfi, the most intriguing city of this whole amazing coastline. The Amalfi city-state, unlike the rest of Italy (Venice excluded), didn’t disappear into the so-called Dark Ages, but maintained a continuity of wealth and influence from Roman times until the 11th and 12th centuries when it suffered sackings first by Normans, then twice by Pisa. Its decline was completed in the 14th century, when an earthquake caused most of the city to slide into the sea.
Today it is a beautiful small town that hugs the harbor with winding pedestrian lanes and 5,000 inhabitants. Our guided tour will take us through the tiny squares and alleyways, the Arsenal (medieval shipyard) and the Norman cathedral.
Dinner on your own in Amalfi
Sorrento, our morning destination, sits atop a cliff looking down on the Bay of Naples. Narrow, winding lanes, artisan shops, wisteria hanging from terraces and the smell of citrus flowers all add to the charm of this historic resort town.
Mid afternoon we’ll take the famous Amalfi Coast scenic drive back to Ravello. Evening free.
Leaving the Tyrrhenian coast we will cross the Italian peninsula to eventually reach the Adriatic Sea.
Paestum, an ancient Greek and Roman town founded in 720 B.C., is home to three of the best preserved Greek temples in the Mediterranean. Paestum was abandoned during medieval times and its existence forgotten until the 18th century. Our local guide will walk us through the archeological complex and museum bringing this powerful town of Magna Graecia back to life.
Afternoon transfer to the “Sassi” of Matera, a spectacular agglomeration of cave dwellings built into the soft tufa stone of deep ravines. Our hotel for the next three nights is the Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel, located in the heart of the Sassi historic district.
Inhabited since prehistoric times, there were 18,000 resident Sassi cave dwellers as recently as the 1950s when they were forcibly evacuated for inadequate sanitation. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area has been repopulated, the homes renovated, many transformed into elegant hotels and restaurants. This morning we will have a fascinating guided tour through these antique lanes including a visit to the Peasant Culture Museum.
On the plateau above the gorge, just 100 meters from your hotel, the more modern Matera offers an architectural gem of a city center with open squares, fountains and inviting shops.
Altamura is a lovely hilltop, medieval hamlet well known for making the best bread in Italy. As part of our guided tour of the historic district we’ll visit the Museo del Pane. The museum, formerly a bakery dating back to the 13th century, reveals a fascinating story of the importance of bread in our past and the oven, antique utensils and processes involved.
Not long ago, the oldest complete skeleton of a Neanderthal man was discovered in a nearby cave. Dating as far back as 180,000 years ago the remarkably well preserved skeleton has been one of the most important finds in unlocking pieces of our genetic code. We’ll complete our morning at an excellent small museum that has been created around our distant origins called L’Uomo di Altamura.
Included lunch at a rural farmhouse.
Afternoon guided visit to Castel del Monte, the enigmatic octagonal castle erected by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century.
Evening on your own in Matera
Today our first stop is Manduria, where we’ll visit a local winery for a tasting of their excellent “primitivo” wines and a visit to their Wine Culture Museum. Included light lunch.
Afternoon transfer to the historic district of Lecce, where our May and October groups will be staying two nights at the 18th century Patria Palace Hotel. For September our lodging will be the Risorgimento Resort, a 14th century inn-turned-hotel in 1800.
Lecce presents an architectural feast. An ancient settlement of the Messapii tribes, it is the principal Baroque city of Puglia. Baroque, in architecture, is a theatrical style begun in late 16th century Italy as a statement of the power of the Catholic Church in response to the Protestant Reformation.
Evening free to experience one of the best passeggiata in all of Italy.
Morning local guide tour of Lecce.
Afternoon trip to the ancient Roman and Byzantine town of Otranto, the easternmost point on the Italian peninsula. Our guide will take us through the 1000 year old walled hamlet and the 11th century Norman cathedral with the best preserved mosaic floors in southern Italy.
Evening free in Lecce
Morning visit to the medieval town of Galatina to see the 14th century Santa Caterina d’Alessandria Cathedral where there are frescoes so vast and magnificent that you might imagine yourself to be in Assisi.
Our next destination is Brindisi, the famous Adriatic Sea port of the ancient Romans and the terminal point of the Appian Way. Included lunch.
Ostuni, one of the most beautiful hill towns in Puglia, is white, all of it – the houses, shops, churches, streets – set under a deep blue sky and perched on a hill overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The upper historic center is a maze of twisted lanes and staircases, homes constructed one on top of another, and arches that seem to hold it all together before spilling out into an enormous square full of bars, shops and restaurants that is the lower town.
Inhabited at least since 1000 BC by native peoples, Ostuni was destroyed by Hannibal during the Punic wars, rebuilt by the Greeks, taken over by Romans, sacked by Gauls and revived during medieval times. Our hotel is the labyrinthine 13th century Hotel La Terra.
The hotel restaurant will offer us a tasting of local products. You’ll have the evening on your own to further experience the wonderful local cuisine.
If there were any one place to best detail Italy’s ancient history that place would be Taranto. Originally an island located on Puglia’s Ionian coast, Taranto was colonized by Greek Spartans way back in the 8th century B.C. and within 200 years had an enormous population of 300,000 inhabitants and was the most dominant city in southern Italy. In the 3rd century B.C it was eventually overcome by the might of Rome and its economic influence declined with the construction of the Via Appia to Brindisi on the Adriatic Coast.
Our local guide will walk us through these centuries and what remains of them in a delightful tour of the historic center.
After lunch on your own we’ll have a guided tour of one of Italy’s most important archaeological museums, the MArTA.
Evening free in Ostuni.
At Alberobello there is a village of one thousand fairytale-like Trulli, round white houses with tall conical roofs. Our local guide will explain their mysterious origins and why people continue to build them.
Afternoon tour of an 11th century Masseria (fortified farmhouse) with a tasting of olive oils from their ancient olive trees.
Farewell dinner of local Apulian delicacies and last limoncello in Ostuni.
Morning transfers to Brindisi airport and train station.
Day 1 arrival transfers from Naples train station & airport
11 nights accommodation in charming hotels
Tourist accommodation tax
All ground transportation Days 2-11
All breakfasts, 4 dinners & 3 lunches, beverages included
All activities and admissions listed in Highlights
Full-time professional tour manager
Day 12 morning transfers to Brindisi airport
All activities and admissions listed under Highlights
City walking tours with local guides in:
Boat trip to Positano
Peasant Culture Museum at Matera
Museo del Pane at Altamura
Museo dell'Uomo di Altamura
Guided tour of Castel del Monte
Wine Culture Museum with wine tasting at Manduria
Guided visit to the Basilica of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria at Galatina
MArTA archeological museum at Taranto
Trulli museum at Alberobello
Local products tasting at Ostuni
Visit to an 11th century Masseria (fortified farmhouse)
Tour begins: Naples
Transfers from Naples train station (11:30) and airport (12:15) to Ravello via Pompeii
Tour ends: Brindisi
Morning transfers at scheduled times from Ostuni to Brindisi airport and train station.
How to get there: Book a multicity ticket into Rome or Naples and out from Brindisi. Travelers arriving from Rome can take the high-speed Eurostar train departing Termini station at 09:20, arriving Naples at 10:32.
Pre tour: We recommend arriving a day or more prior to tour start. You will be met by our driver at the airport and transferred to your city center hotel.
Day 1 — Pompeii Archaeological Park, Via Villa dei Misteri, Pompei, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
Day 1 — Ravello, SA, Italia
Day 2 — Positano, SA, Italia
Day 2 — Amalfi, SA, Italia
Day 3 — Sorrento, NA, Italia
Day 4 — Paestum, SA, Italy
Day 5 — Sassi di Matera, Via Sinni, Matera, MT, Italia
Day 6 — Altamura, Metropolitan City of Bari, Italy
Day 6 — Castel del Monte, Strada Statale 170, Andria, Province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, Italy
Day 7 — Manduria, TA, Italia
Day 7 — Lecce, LE, Italia
Day 8 — Otranto, LE, Italia
Day 9 — Galatina, Province of Lecce, Italy
Day 9 — Brindisi, BR, Italy
Day 9 — Ostuni, Ostuni, BR, Italy
Day 10 — Taranto, Province of Taranto, Italy
Day 11 — Alberobello, BA, Italia
Be prepared to spend a few hours a day on your feet and for uphill walks to some hotels, steps and inclines in Ravello, Matera and Ostuni.
The Hotel Villa Maria at Ravello is a 5 to 10 minute walk up a moderate incline with steps from the town square.
This tour is not suited for anyone who has problems with knees, back, heart, obesity or those who cannot manage steps and moderate inclines.
Age is not important as long as you are reasonably fit and a good walker. If you have mobility issues this is not the right tour for you. Please call us if you have questions.
1. PRICES, DEPOSITS, PAYMENTS, REFUNDS
Prices shown are per person, double occupancy, in euro.
The deposit is 400 euro per person.
Balance payments are due 70 days prior to tour start.
Deposits and balance payments are accepted by Visa and Master Card or by bank wire. After your deposit has been received we will send you an invoice with the due date and amount for the balance of payment. Should you fail to make final payment by the date specified on your invoice, we reserve the right to cancel your booking without refund.
Cancellations and refunds: in the unlikely event that we would cancel your tour, you would be entitled to a 100% refund within 2 weeks after the tour’s cancellation.
If you cancel your tour reservation:
1. are 50% refundable up until 180 days prior to tour start date.
2. are 100 % non-refundable less than 180 days prior to tour start date.
3. are 98% refundable 70 days or more prior to tour start date.
4. are 48% refundable 70 to 31 days prior to tour start date.
5. 30 days or less prior to tour start date: no refund.
Physician documented emergency medical reasons or police documented cases of accident, flood, fire or crime are required for refunds.
We do not provide refunds for: non-medical personal problems; air carrier delays or cancellations; inability to obtain passports; business problems or emergencies; etc.
2. TRAVEL PROTECTION
Covid-19 Policy: All tour members including tour managers and drivers must be fully vaccinated.
We strongly recommend that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.
It is not possible for Amber Road Tours to provide protection coverage of any sort and you agree to buy insurance or travel at your own risk.
Transfers from Naples train station and airport on Day 1 (available only at scheduled time). All ground transportation Days 2 to 11, including tour manager and drivers. Transfers on Day 12 from Ostuni to Brindisi airport. 11 nights’ hotel accommodations with breakfast. Included meals listed on itinerary including beverages (wine or beer or soft drinks and water). Admissions to all sites visited as a group, as listed in the highlights of the tour itinerary.
4. NOT INCLUDED
Air transportation, all meals not listed above, room service, phone calls, etc.
Naples has a modern, clean and uncrowded train station. Your meeting point is in front of the Italo ticket office inside the station – your tour manager will be waiting for you there for the 11:30 transfer. (If you are coming by train from Rome there is a high speed Eurostar train departing Termini station at 09:20, arriving in Naples at 10:32) There is also a transfer from Naples airport at 12:15.
Brindisi has a beautiful, well-organized, small airport offering eight flights a day to Rome and others to Milan, Venice, Verona, Paris, London and Zurich. It also has a port with departures for Greece, a train station and car rental services. Our last hotel destination in Ostuni is 30 minutes from the airport. Morning transfers to Brindisi will be made to accommodate all departure needs.
You are allowed one suitcase and one carry-on bag. If you exceed this limit there may not be space in the coach to transport your excess luggage and it will be at your own expense to have it transported throughout the tour. We suggest that you bring a daypack for carrying water, guide books, jacket, rain gear, etc.
8. WALKING ON TOUR
Be prepared to spend a few hours a day on your feet and for uphill walks to some hotels. This tour is not suited for anyone who has problems with knees, back, heart, obesity or those who cannot manage steps and moderate inclines. Age is not important as long as you are reasonably fit and a good walker. If you have any difficulty walking this is not the right tour for you.
Are located in quiet locations within historic districts or a short distance outside the city walls. European hotel rooms are generally smaller than those in the U.S., and have one queen bed or two single beds, with private bath.
11. SINGLE TRAVELERS
We have space available for two singles on each of our tours. They are provided with single-use double rooms.
For our recommended tours and dates, as listed in our web site, are guaranteed for groups of six or more participants.
For groups with fewer than six participants, a supplemental charge may be applied when the estimated total cost of operating the tour exceeds the revenues paid.
We do not sell optional excursions or take you on shopping expeditions. Your additional expenses will be for non-included meals, moderate tipping where appropriate, and personal sightseeing or shopping.
13. NO SMOKING / NO CELL PHONES
We have a no smoking policy on all tour buses, at group meals and at all sites visited. The same policy applies to the use of cellular phones.
14. EASY TRAVELERS
For the enjoyment of all our guests on tour we ask those who choose to travel with Amber Road Tours to be congenial, lighthearted and to take small issues in stride. Should you have any issues please address them to your tour manager – he or she is your Amber Road Tours’ representative during your time on tour. Once your tour is finished you will be emailed a link to our website where you can leave comments about your experiences and suggestions about how we can improve our services.
15. LIMIT OF LIABILITY
No responsibility is accepted for any loss, expense, accident, injury, or damage to any person or property due to the actions or omissions of any person, or any cause, including but not limited to acts of God, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, defects in machinery, breakdown of equipment, weather, quarantine, or other causes beyond our control.
16. MEMBERSHIP ON TOUR
Amber Road Tours reserves the right to accept, reject, or not retain any person as a tour participant whose condition or general deportment impedes the operation of the tour or, in the opinion of the tour manager, affects the rights and enjoyment of other guests. A guest not retained on tour shall have no cause for complaint or refund, and shall bear any and all extra expenses that ensue.
17. TOUR CHANGES
All information on this website is, to the best of our knowledge, correct. However, we reserve the right to make changes in accommodations, visits, and itineraries at any time should it become necessary or desirable. Delays or itinerary changes caused by strikes, bad weather, traffic, or other unforeseen circumstances are beyond our control and we are not obliged to pay guests compensation.