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|Itinerary at a Glance
|4||Minori, Amalfi & Ravello|
|5||Minori, Pompeii, Positano & Sorrento|
|6||Minori & Capri|
|7||Minori. Salerno & Paestum|
|Departs||New York Kennedy (JFK)|
|Highlights||Minori, Amalfi, Ravello, Sorrento, Positano, Salerno and the ruins of Pompeii and Paestum|
|Included in the Price||
|Travel Style||This moderately-paced, escorted tour requires minimal walking and is suitable for most levels of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops|
Like pearls strung on a necklace, the ancient villages of Italy’s Amalfi Coast today beckon travelers and glitterati alike. They flock here along the coast road to towns as old as time to drink in the jaw-dropping views of the crystal blue Mediterranean from perches atop the high mountain cliffs. The villages are legendary - Minori, Amalfi, Sorrento, Salerno, Positano, and Ravello - one more beautiful than the next, tucked against black pebble beaches. It is the very definition of La Dolce Vita, the sweet life, lived in the fashion of Sophia Lauren, with a glass of Vesuvian red wine in one hand, a plate of handmade pasta in the other. The shopping is to die for. There are the designer labels, but also the linens of Positano and sandals made while you wait by old-world craftsmen who look as if they could have once clothed Caesar himself. Bracketed by Pompeii to the north and Salerno to the south, the Amalfi Coast dazzles the senses with its brilliant, warm people and beaches, along a seacoast that is no doubt the work of an ancient God.
Vacationing in Italy for Spring Break was our 13-year-old son's idea. We hadn't a clue how to pull it all together in less than 5 weeks, and then a friend recommended Friendly Planet. From the get-go (meaning my initial contact with your reservation agent), I knew that we would be in good hands. The tour of 8 key cities in Italy, including Rome, Florence, Venice, and Siena, was beyond our wildest expectations. And the price was right! And our charming tour guides were one better than the other! We also enjoyed the company of our fellow travelers -- all truly wonderful people. Since then, every chance I get, I recommend Friendly Planet to my family and friends.
Fran Carpentier, New York, NY
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Day 2: Rome/Minori. After customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to the Amalfi coast, driving south along the Highway of the Sun to Minori. Check in at your hotel, and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to explore your surroundings. Accommodations: Hotel Villa Romana. Dinner provided.
Day 3: Minori. This morning, enjoy a walking tour of Minori. This charming sea-side town was founded in the 7th Century B.C. by the Etruscans and later occupied by the Roman Patricians. Visit a Limoncello factory for a tasting of this famous lemon flavored liqueur. See local artisans producing ceramics and other typical products of the area. After an afternoon at leisure, take part in a cooking class by the hotel chef, followed by dinner. Breakfast and dinner provided.
Day 4: Minori, Amalfi & Ravello. Today, depart for a full day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage towns of Amalfi and Ravello. Amalfi was once a powerful town, and the first Sea Republic in Italy. Part of the town was destoyed by a tsunami in the 14th century. Walk through the town and see examples of moorish influenced medieval architecture, such as Saint Andrew’s Cathedral (Duomo) and the Cloister of Paradise. Amalfi is also known as a maker of a hand-made thick paper called ‘bambagina” popular with artists. Continue to the nearby charming town of Ravello, which was founded in the 5th century as shelter against the barbarian invasions. By the 9th century, the town was an important trading power. See the Duomo and the famous gardens of Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo. Later in the afternoon, return to Minori. Breakfast and dinner provided.
Day 5: Minori, Pompeii, Positano & Sorrento. Today, visit Pompeii, the ancient city covered by volcanic lava and ash more than 2000 years ago. See the remarkably preserved ruins of temples, houses, gardens and public buildings. Later, spend time in Positano, stopping for views of the Moorish architecture blended with pastel colored houses. Take the opportunity to look in the elegant boutiques and craft stores in the charming town center. Afterwards, continue to Sorrento for lunch.
After lunch, enjoy some free time to stroll and buy souvenirs or savor a gelato. On the way back to Minori, visit the Emerald Grotto (weather permitting), which was re-discovered in 1932 by a local sailor and named “Emerald” for the colors that fill the cave. Tonight, enjoy a pizza party with wine at the hotel. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 6: Minori & Capri. This morning, a jetfoil will whisk you across the blue Bay of Naples to the fabled Isle of Capri (weather permitting). Ascend to the Piazzetta, the town center. There will be some free time for shopping and lunch, before returning to the pier by funicular. Board the jetfoil back to the mainland, and transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight. Breakfast and dinner provided.
Day 7: Minori, Salerno & Paestum. Today’s excursion will be to the lively port town of Salerno. During medieval times the town’s medical school was among the most advanced. In recent history, Salerno was the site of the Allied landing in September 1942. Continue to Paestum, one of the best collections of Greek temples in Western Europe, and see the 2000 year old Doric Temples. Next, visit a buffalo mozzarella factory to learn about the cheese making process, and sample some of the cheese. Return to Minori. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with your travel companions. Breakfast and dinner provided.
Day 8: Minori/USA. Your memorable Italian journey ends today as you say'arrivederci Italia' and transfer to Rome for your return flight. Arrive in the USA later today. Breakfast provided.
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