Naples - Classical to contemporary around the Campi Flegrei

Prices from £2,595

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23 Oct 2019 - 30 Oct 2019
Duration: 7 nights
Ref: NAP19
With: Nigel McGilchrist

Prices

Prices from £2,595
Single Supplement: from £320
Deposit: £200

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When the Grand Tourists of the 18th century, having crossed the Brenner Pass to see melancholy Venice, stately Florence, and the fabled remainders of antiquity in Rome, finally reached the Bay of Naples, it must have seemed like crossing the Alps all over again. In landscape, culture and character, Naples is further from northern Italy than Switzerland, and the Neapolitans know it. Some call it the ‘real’ Italy, others insist that it is not Italy at all, but everyone can agree that Naples is unique, and unforgettable.

Despite the prevailing sense of disorder, Naples feels immediately familiar, the touchstones of Italian life that are most recognisable to outsiders, both good and bad, find their fullest expression here. No part of Italy is as focused on food, on football, on la bella figura, as Naples. No city combines the same mix of ancient ruins, baroque glamour, and extraordinary art, as Naples. When the silhouette of Vesuvius grows darker, as the sun sets behind the bay, few would deny the extraordinary beauty of Naples’ natural surroundings.

This tour is an exploration of two thousand years of Neapolitan history. We will visit the ruins of Cumae and Pompeii, and the classical treasures preserved in the world’s finest archaeological museum. We will escape to the palatial Capodimonte gallery and the calmer but no less lovely towns of Ravello and Amalfi. We will admire the glorious chaos of Spaccanapoli and its hidden artistic gems, and much more besides, including a startlingly modern underground network, evidence that the city’s artistic life, and capacity to surprise, remains as vigorous as ever.

YOUR STUDY TOUR LECTURER - NIGEL MCGILCHRIST

Nigel McGilchrist is an Oxford graduate who lived and worked in Italy (in Rome and in Orvieto) for thirty-five years before he moved to the island of Kythera in Greece where he now lives. He taught for the University of Rome, worked as an external Consultant to the Italian Ministry of Arts, and has lectured widely for museums and universities in Europe and the USA, in both Ancient and Renaissance Art. He contributed to several of the Blue Guides on Italy and spent nearly a decade walking, exploring and documenting the monuments and curiosities of the sixty inhabited Greek Aegean islands, preparing a new survey-guide of their archaeology, history and art – published in a complete version of twenty volumes as McGilchrist’s Greek Islands. He has been a lecturer for Art Pursuits Abroad in Italy for seven years.

DAY 1

Today we fly with BA from London Gatwick to Naples. On arrival our coach transfers us to our hotel for our five night stay. It has views of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.

DAY 2

After breakfast we travel to the fascinating and well-preserved ancient ruins in the Campi Flegrei area. We have a tour of the acropolis of Cumae, the first Greek colony in mainland Italy, the ruins of Baia including the half-submerged Temple of Mercury. In the afternoon, we visit Pozzuoli for its ruined Macellum, or market building, and a view of its Flavian amphitheatre, the third largest in Italy. We continue to the Grotta di Seiano, for a private tour of the 770-metre-long Roman tunnel leading to a remarkable cliffside villa.

DAY 3

This morning, we explore the ancient Decumanus area of Naples, today called ‘Spaccanapoli’: highlights include Naples Cathedral, with its baptistery decorated with 4th-century early Christian mosaics, and the Church of the Pio Monte della Misericordia, which contains Caravaggio’s celebrated Seven Acts of Mercy. We have a late-afternoon visit to the archaeological museum to see the world’s greatest collection of sculptures, mosaics, and wall paintings from the Roman era.

DAY 4

We walk in to the centre of Naples to visit the highly unusual Cappella Sansevero and its astonishing Cristo Velato sculpture, followed by a visit to the nearby church and ceramic-tiled cloister of Santa Chiara. After lunch, the rest of the day is free to explore.

DAY 5

We travel by coach to the Università underground station to view the cutting-edge design of Europe’s most startling and artistic public transport network. A short metro journey takes us to Via Toledo where we will visit the Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano to see what is believed to be Caravaggio’s last work, the Martyrdom of Saint Ursula. Afterwards, our coach takes us to the Capodimonte Museum, built as a hunting-lodge for Bourbon princes and today home to one of Italy’s finest art collections, including pictures by Simone Martini, Masaccio, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, Caravaggio, and Goya. Then travel to Posillipo for an exclusive visit to the privately owned Villa Gambardella, after a guided tour enjoy an aperitif on the terrace with beautiful views over the Bay of Naples.

DAY 6

In the morning visit Pompeii, rightly the most celebrated of Naples’s ancient sights. After lunch, and a tasting of local wines from the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius, we continue to Ravello for the first of our two nights in this historic and beautiful hill-top town.

DAY 7

We visit Ravello’s 11th-century Duomo, and the peaceful gardens of the Villa Rufolo. After lunch, we take a short drive down to the coast at Amalfi, to see its 13th-century cathedral where Arab influences are unmistakable. We also visit the ‘Cloister of Paradise’, a tranquil garden of palms surrounded by slender, white arches.

DAY 8

We walk from the centre of Ravello up to the spectacular Villa Cimbrone for a breath-taking panorama of the Amalfi coast. After lunch at Torre Annunziata, visit Villa Oplontis, one of the best-preserved of the ancient Imperial Villas of the Vesuvian area before we continue to Naples airport for our return flight to London Gatwick.

PRICES:

Twin/double share: £2595 per person
Superior double/twin supplement: £90
Deposit: £200 per person

PRICING FOR SINGLE ROOMS:

Five nights in a French bedded room for single use in Naples and two nights in a double room for sole use in Ravello supplement: £320
Five nights in a classic Room for single use in Naples and two nights in a double room for sole use in Ravello supplement: £400
Superior room for single use in both hotels supplement: £550

INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:

  • Return flights with BA from London Gatwick to Naples
  • Private coach transfers in Italy
  • Five nights’ bed and breakfast in the 4* Eurostars Hotel Excelsior
  • Two nights’ bed & breakfast in the 4* Hotel Rufolo
  • Four dinners
  • Guided visits to all the sites listed in the programme
  • Services of the Lecturer and Tour Manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes & gratuities for coach drivers & waiters

EUROSTARS HOTEL EXCELSIOR NAPLES

The four-star Eurostars Hotel Excelsior Naples is on the sea front with panoramic views across the Gulf of Naples. The elegantly furnished hotel has a restaurant in the roof garden on the last floor of the hotel and offers high quality Mediterranean cuisine and stunning views. The luxury rooms have a television, mini-bar, safe, air conditioning, bathrobes and tea and coffee making facilities.

HOTEL RUFOLO, RAVELLO

The four-star Hotel Rufolo, Ravello, offers panoramic views overlooking the famous Villa Rufolo gardens. The hotel has a large lounge and a bar. The restaurant offers spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast. The bedrooms have a mini-bar, safe, television, air conditioning and a hair dryer.