An Iconic Italian Hike: Mount Vesuvius
Our first stop will be at the top of Mount Vesuvius, the powerful volcano that unleashed itself on the ancient city of Pompeii in 79 CE. This sleeping giant is the only active volcano on the European mainland, but don’t worry – your Mount Vesuvius hike will take place under the guidance of an expert geologist.
Though the1re are a few different paths up to the caldera, we’ll take the 4-kilometer Gran Cono Mount Vesuvius Hiking Trail, which provides the easiest and most direct route to the volcano’s rim. Along the way, your guide will explain the wisps of hot steam you see escaping from fumaroles and why the Bay of Naples is home to one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. It takes approximately 30-45 minutes to hike Mount Vesuvius, giving you ample time to explore the crater and take in the spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast.
The Art of Making Pasta in Gragnano, Italy
Savoring a bowl of freshly made pasta is one of the best things to do on your Amalfi Coast vacation – and where better to have such a classic experience than on a private tour of an artisanal pasta maker! We’ll travel to the Pastificio Ducato di Amalfi pasta factory in Gragnano, a town that is uniquely qualified to produce high quality pasta.
Get a firsthand look at the art of making pasta and hear how the company has combined traditional techniques with innovative equipment to produce some of the world’s best pasta. You’ll also learn how Gragnano’s particular combination of fertile soil, limestone spring water, and slightly humid climate creates the ideal pasta-making conditions.
Your culinary journey continues! Take part in a virtual reality experience and walk through the streets of 1900s Gragnano – don’t forget to listen for the rushing rivers that powered the city’s famous grain mills!
After an open kitchen demonstration of the spaghetti Gragnano process, you’ll sit down to an exclusive mill-to-table tasting menu where pasta is the star of the show. Enjoy a glass of vino alongside a three-course lunch that showcases the fine art of pairing the right sauce with the perfect shape of pasta.
Step Into an Ancient Roman Civilization
Our final stop will be an archaeological site of your choosing – Pompeii or Herculaneum. When nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, a mushroom cloud of ash and volcanic rock exploded into the sky and completely covered everything within a ten-mile radius. Thousands of years later, excavators dug through the debris and uncovered two perfectly preserved cities – Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Today, visitors can walk along the stone streets of these towns and experience an ancient civilization that’s unlike anywhere else on Earth. Duck into two-story family homes, pay homage to a Roman goddess in a temple surrounded by towering columns, discover the secrets of an ancient bathhouse, and stand in the same arena where epic gladiator battles were fought.
Pompeii Visit or Herculaneum Tour
Wondering if you should opt for a Pompeii visit or take a Herculaneum tour? While both cities were buried by Mount Vesuvius’ eruption and offer an unprecedented record of ancient times, Herculaneum was covered in five times more ash than Pompeii, which means Herculaneum ruins are harder to excavate but better preserved.
The Pompeii ruins are enormous and undoubtedly the more famous site, while Herculaneum is less crowded and full of vivid mosaics and other intricate Roman artwork. No matter which site you choose, our expert archaeologist will provide a fascinating two-hour tour.
Learn about the days leading up to the infamous eruption, explore what daily life was like in the 1st century, and hear how today’s seismologists monitor the volcano and alert those currently living in the area to its activity. Depending on your interests, your guide will provide an overview of the site and its highlights or do a deep dive into a specific topic.
Whether you’d like more information on Herculaneum skeletons, Pompeii graffiti, or even what it’s like to be an archaeologist, we’ve got you covered!
Your Mount Vesuvius Hike and Pompeii Walking Tour experience ends with a drive back to your hotel and one last stunning view of the shimmering Amalfi Coast!