The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79 and recent archaeological excavations have given humanity an unrivalled window on the ancient world. This 7-day exploration of the key archaeological sites of the Bay of Naples is led by internationally-acclaimed archaeologist Dr Estelle Lazer. Background lectures and daily excursions will give participants a comprehensive understanding of the Roman world. The tour is based in a 4-star hotel in the seaside town of Sorrento, and includes time to enjoy the scenery of the Bay of Naples, travel the Amalfi Coast and sample some of the delightful cuisine of the region.
Detailed, expert-led site visits to Pompeii, Herculaneum and several Roman villas
Special access to houses in Pompeii that are closed to the general visitor
An internationally acclaimed archaeologist’s insights into the ancient world, gained through cutting-edge forensic science
The jaw-dropping beauty of the Amalfi Coast and the atmospheric 6th-century BC Greek ruins at Paestum
Regional delicacies at outstanding local restaurants, including mozzarella at a Campanian buffalo farm
Six nights in a centrally-located four-star hotel in the attractive town of Sorrento
Day 1: Arrive Naples airport or station. Transfer by coach to hotel. Lecture and welcome drinks.
Day 2: Full day in Pompeii, including special access to sites unavailable to the general visitor.
Day 3: Naples Archaeological Museum and a walking tour of Naples.
Day 4: The Amalfi coast and on to the Greek colony of Paestum. Buffalo mozzarella lunch.
Day 5: Visit Herculaneum and the Villa Oplontis, to see how the upper crust of Roman society lived.
Day 6: Visits to the villas at Stabiae and Boscoreale, a Roman farmer’s domain.
Day 7: Return transfer to Naples. The tour begins and ends at Naples airport or Naples central station.
Start & Finish
The tour begins and ends at Naples airport or Naples central station. Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways offer direct flights to Rome from most Australian cities, connecting to direct flights and trains to Naples. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Monday 4 November – Arrive
A single coach early evening transfer from Naples airport or the railway station is offered. After check-in, meet Dr Lazer over drinks and canapes in our hotel. Overnight Sorrento.
Tuesday 5 November – Pompeii
After an introductory lecture, the full day is spent in Pompeii. Dr Lazer will show you both the main excavations, such as the forum, amphitheatre and baths, but also take you to sites where archaeological work is currently underway. Dr Lazer is regularly given access to sites not normally open to the public, a privilege of travelling with an expert of this calibre. Our visit will consider all aspects of life in a Roman town: politics and commerce, religious devotion, entertainment and family life. The casts of the victims of the eruption are unforgettable – but also complex, equivocal archaeological evidence. Overnight Sorrento. We enjoy lunch is at Pompeii today, adjacent to the archaeological site, before returning to the site. (B,L)
Wednesday 6 November – Naples archaeological museum
In Roman times, Naples (Neapolis) was a small centre with a Greek heritage. It was not until the reign of Angevin and then Spanish and Bourbon rulers that it began a major European capital. The Bourbons initiated the excavation of Pompeii and it became a must-see destination for travellers on the Grand Tour in the 18th and 19th centuries. Naples’ celebrated archaeological museum is a product of the Bourbon age, and contains an astounding range of artefacts from Pompeii, Herculaneum and other sites. After Dr Lazer’s lecture, our visit will focus especially on wall paintings, but there are magnificent mosaics, sculpture, jewellery and decorative pieces to enjoy as well, not to mention everyday objects which display the material comfort and technological achievement of the Romans. Overnight Sorrento. (B)
Thursday 7 November – Paestum and the Amalfi Coast
Just 60km south of Pompeii lies one of the best-preserved Greek archaeological sites in existence. Posedonia was founded in the 6th century BCE and contains three magnificent Doric-style temples in an evocative rural setting. (Unlike so many Greek sites which were destroyed, Paestum was abandoned and has come down to use in a good state of preservation.) The adjacent archaeological museum is also one of Italy’s best small museums. We travel to Paestum vis the spectacular Amalfi Coast, one of Europe’s most scenic drives. A highlight of the trip is sure to be our lunch at Tenuta Vanello, a high-tech buffalo mozzarella farm. We enjoy a lunch comprising almost entirely buffalo milk products and get to meet the buffalo! This evening Dr Lazer talks on wall painting in ancient Rome. Overnight Sorrento. (B,L)
Friday 8 November – Herculaneum and Oplontis
Although Pompeii is the best known of the cities of Vesuvius, the Roman villa at Oplontis and the seaside town of Herculaneum are major attractions in and of themselves, deserving an equal fame to Pompeii. After a lecture we spend the morning at the 1st century BCE villa at Oplontis, near the modern town of Torre Annuziata. The scale of the villa and the sumptuous facilities and wall paintings suggest the villa belonged to one of Rome’s leading families, perhaps the imperial family, but this remains a mystery. In the afternoon we visit the seaside town of Herculaneum, surely a salubrious place to live before the catastrophe of AD79. Superbly preserved and not excavated until the 20th century it contains exquisite private houses, shops and bathing complexes. Overnight Sorrento. (B)
Saturday 9 November – Villas on the Bay
At the height of the Roman Empire, the Bay of Naples was the resort of choice for the Roman aristocracy and there were many large private villas dotted around the bay, as well as more modest structure. This morning we visit two contrasting examples. The ‘villa rustica’ at Boscoreale was a working farm, not rediscovered until the mid-20th century and containing a wealth of finds. Nearby is the town of Stabia, where we know many wealthy Romans estivated. It is here on the beach that Pliny the Elder died, as narrated in a classic letter by his nephew describing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. We visit one or two villas here, before returning to Sorrento for a free afternoon. This evening we gather for a farewell meal in a leading restaurant. (B,D)
Sunday 10 November – Departure
The will be a single transfer to Naples railway station and on to the airport at a time coinciding with the departure of the majority of the group. We will liaise with you regarding the optimal departure time.
Dr Estelle Lazer
An archaeologist with an international reputation for her work on the human victims of Pompeii in southern Italy.
Dr Estelle Lazer is an archaeologist with an international reputation for her work on the human victims of Pompeii, with more field seasons in the Bay of Naples than she cares to remember! Her PhD studied the site’s human skeletons, and her current project is to CT scan and X-ray the unique casts of these victims. Estelle’s book, Resurrecting Pompeii, was published by Routledge and her work forms a core part of the Ancient History syllabus for the NSW Higher School Certificate.
Estelle is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney. In October 2017, the University of Sydney and the Pompeii Archaeological Park signed an historic Memorandum of Agreement to partner in an important new scanning project led by Estelle. Her research has received considerable media attention in print, radio and television, with two documentaries (one for the BBC and Smithsonian, and another in production for Britain’s Channel 5) ensuring a wide audience for her fascinating findings.
Her other main field of research is historical archaeology in Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic. Estelle spent four summers working on Mawson’s Huts, and has spent another summer studying evidence of the sealing industry as well as Australia’s first post-war Antarctic base at Heard Island. She has also worked on archaeological sites in Bahrain, south-eastern Italy, Cyprus, the UK and Australia.
In addition to her teaching work at the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and University of Technology, Sydney, Estelle gives frequent public lectures at the invitation of universities, schools and museums, such as the Australian National University, Oxford University, the British Museum, University of Trondheim, Norway and the British School at Rome.
Estelle has led tours to Italy and the Mediterranean for Academy Travel since the company’s inception in 2004, and also works extensively with our Academy Schools program for teachers and students. In addition to her obvious archaeological expertise, she particularly enjoys explaining the place of mythology in the landscape – especially in Sicily and southern Italy.
The Hotel Plaza is a very comfortable four-star hotel in an excellent location just off Piazza Tasso, the main square of the old town. You are minutes from a wide selection of bars, restaurants and shops in the charming lanes of the old town of Sorrento. The hotel is also well located for our excursions out of Sorrento by coach and train.
What is included in the tour price?
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price?
Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.
A Grade 2 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days. More Details
A detailed itinerary for this tour is not yet available, and as such we're not accepting bookings for this tour at this time. If you would like to be notified when places become available, please register your interest.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is not yet available, and as such we're not accepting bookings for this tour at this time. If you would like to be notified when places become available, please register your interest. We will email you an itinerary as soon as it’s available.
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Hold a Place
Thank you for your interest in this tour. We are happy to hold a tentative place for seven days while you make your final arrangements to come on tour.
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