The following is just an example:
The Site of Ancient Pompeii is located on the Bay of Naples in between Naples, Salerno and Sorrento. Along the road, you can see and feel the towering presence of Mt Vesuvius. On the other side, you will instead enjoy nice views of the Bay of Naples and its islands. In a distance across the Bay stands Cape Misenum, where the Roman Military Navy was based and from where Pliny the Elder started his description of the eruption on 79 AD that buried Pompeii and the surrounding towns.
Please be aware Pompeii site is extended on a surface of approximately 160 acres. To make the best of your time Leisure Italy strongly recommends its optional guided services. This will also allow you to skip the line. Our guided walking tour will be adapted to the interests and walking attitude of the participants.
Here a suggested itinerary for our optional private guided walking tour of Pompeii in case you choose to explore the archaeological site together with a professional guide.
In Pompeii, you will first admire the city walls, dating back to the pre-roman Pompeii (4 centuries BC). One of the best-preserved ancient gates is called Porta Marina, it connected Pompeii with its port, with one path for charts and another for people.
Right before this gate, there is a not-to-be-missed building, the Suburban Bath House recently excavated and therefore very well preserved.
Once in town, you will be walking on the original road made by basalt stone (volcanic rock), and you will notice on the ground hundreds of little white spots made of travertine which were used to reflect torchlight (this is what nowadays people call “cat’s eye”).
Your attention will be caught by big blocks of basalt emerging from the road: they were stepping stones used by pedestrians to avoid getting wet when it rained; differently from other roman towns, Pompeii didn’t have a complete sewer system because the city was build on top of a lava platform too hard to be worked.
The city center was called the Forum, it hosts all the buildings with a public function: Religion (the Temple of Apollo, the Capitolium and the Temple of the Emperor), Trade (the meat and fish market called Macellum, the textiles market headed by a priestess called Eumachia), Administration (the Basilica) and Politics (Comitia). Other facilities in the Forum where exchange offices, public restrooms and a public scale (tabula mensurae) where to compare and weigh farmer’s products. In the Forum you will also see a display of the famous human casts.
Close to the Forum, there were public thermal baths where both men and women (in different sections), poor and wealthy, free and slaves could access daily hygiene. Pompeii had 3 of such complexes in town plus 2 right outside the town, and they all had the following facilities: a changing room (apodyterium), a tepid room (tepidarium), a hot room (calidarium) and a Gym (Palestra).
You will notice several places fronting the road with large vases built in a masonry counter: this is what the Romans called popinae, today’s taverns! Those earthenware jars weere filled up with food and beverages, and very many ancient Pompeians would stop in such places for lunch.
You will certainly recognize some of the bakeries of Pompeii, with their ovens and their grinding machines: incredible but true some round carbonized loaves of bread were found during the excavations. This is nowadays on exhibit at the Archaeological Museum of Naples together with more carbonized organics such as almonds, pine cones, figs, dates, etc…
Your visit would be incomplete without the red light district: the brothel (Lupanare) shows us today an interesting display of roman frescoes featuring several erotic images!
Do not miss the chance to discover Pompeii places for public performances: an outdoor theatre (for comedy and tragedy), an indoor theatre (Odeion, for mimes and declamation of poetry) and a big amphitheater (for games like gladiators or beast fights). You shall visit at least one of those places.
After the tour at Pompeii, you can stop for a few minutes if you wish, to get a fresh-squeezed orange juice or to browse the souvenir shops.
During your Private Tour of the Amalfi Coast, you will cross several charming villages: Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Ravello etc… The time you can stop in each of them will depend on your choice and of course on your ship’s last boarding time. On this tour Leisure Italy recommends to choose 2 towns, to have some time at leisure to enjoy instead of being rushed all day. Please consider that the driving time from the Amalfi coast back to Naples can take nearly 2 hours.
After you explore the archaeological site, your Private Tour of Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast will take you to the Sorrento Peninsula, with some beautiful landscape on your right-hand side. Along the way, your private driver will give you the chance to stop to take stunning panorama photos .
Once on the Amalfi Drive, you are going to experience the pure Mediterranean beauty: cliffs, blue sea, some luxurious villas perched like eagles’ nests atop the surrounding mountains and the incredible narrow winding road stretching along the coast. You will be surrounded by breath-taking scenery.
Sorrento is our choice for shopping and lunch opportunities. It is famous for its “limoncello” production – an alcoholic lemon liquor which you can taste mostly anywhere in town. Not to miss the overview to the Bay of Naples from the Garden of St-Francis.
Positano is the first village you will cross along the Amalfi Coast. Its whitewashed houses and its fancy art and ceramic galleries have attracted thousands of people from all over the world, turning it into a very touristy destination. If you like you can leave the vehicle and discover the village which is mostly a pedestrian area leading down to the beach. On the upper part of Positano there are some friendly taverns, please do not hesitate to ask your driver!
Amalfi is the most interesting place on the Amalfi coast for its glorious historical past.
You can visit the Cathedral – burial place of St. Andrew – or you can try to get away from the crowds exploring the maze of little white painted alleys and travel through time back to the Middle-Ages!
Finally, you can visit Ravello (350 meters on the sea level), certainly the most elegant and scenic village on the coast. In Ravello, you can visit either Villa Cimbrone or Villa Rufolo with their astonishing views or simply enjoy some free time.
Lunch will depend on your desire: there will be different options, from a snack up to a nice seafood meal in one of the many excellent restaurants with sea view along the itinerary.
My wife and I took two tours with Fabrizio—Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. Both were sensational. I can’t imagine anyone being a better guide than Fabrizio. His knowledge is encyclopedic, his manner is engaging, and his English is impeccable. (He’s fluent in several languages.)
Fabrizio clearly has a passion for what he does. And he’s fascinating guy. We learned a great deal from him (history, geography, etc.) and we also enjoyed his companionship. Unlike other guides we’ve been with, Fabrizio didn’t “lecture” us. Instead he shared his knowledge and insights in a pleasant, conversational way.
My wife and I are pretty serious amateur photographers and Fabrizio was able to take us to ideal vantage points, at the perfect times of day, to get some excellent photos.
Fabrizio made our trip significantly more enjoyable and memorable than it otherwise would have been.
I titled this review “Our Family Visit” because that’s what it was… Our holiday in Italy. But it was for more than that. Our time with Leisure Italy was a day with a new family.
Let me step back just a minute, though. We booked a cruise for 11 members of our family with a final stop at the port of Naples. I found Leisure Italy on Trip Advisor about 6 months ago and initiated the first of many emails with Vincenzo to draw up an itinerary that would be not just unforgettable but could cater to individuals of varying physical abilities (27-87). We decided on the Amalfi Coast/Pompeii itinerary and as per his suggestion we opted to tour the coast prior to visiting Pompeii. We selected stops in Amalfi and Ravello.
We were greeted at the port by our guide, Frederica. She introduced us to our driver Giuseppe and herded us aboard our 20+ person mini-bus. We had tons of space. As we began our drive, she gave us a quick overview of the day and then started telling us all sorts of interesting bits about Naples, the Amalfi Coast and Campania in general.
By our first stop outside Sorrento, she not only knew the names of all 11 members of our family but she’d also figured out how to interact on a personal and familiar level with everyone. Needless to say, she was perfect.
We’d hired private guides and transportation in Malta and Sicily at previous stops and though they were great, they did not rise to this level. Frederica was set apart from our other bookings by her background. She has a university degree in languages, and she speaks Italian, English, Spanish, French and Chinese. Additionally, and more importantly, she was knowledgeable, engaging, professional and had just the right amount of silliness to make everyone feel special. We didn’t spend our day with a guide, so much as we spent the day with our new Italian cousin. She instantly became a member of our family and turned what we had expected to be an enjoyable day into something that was truly unforgettable.
Neither I, nor any member of my family can sufficiently thank Vincenzo (who humored me by answering more than a few emails) Giuseppe (for his Formula 1 driving skills) or especially Cousin Frederica for giving us truly exceptional service and a perfect ending to our family’s Mediterranean vacation.
We will definitely be recommending Leisure Italy and the remarkable people who operate it to all of our friends and family.
Vincenzo, Giuseppe e Frederica… Grazie per tutto!