Day 5: ISLAND TIME IN CAPRI
Today we travel to Capri, a favoured destination for the rich and famous in recent times, but also with an interesting history stretching back beyond ancient Roman times.
On Capri we take the funicular railway up to the town centre, where top fashion boutiques jostle for space alongside locals selling fruit and vegetables.
Starting from the centre of town we first visit a monastery that many visitors to Capri do not enter. This is a fascinating place, with the remains of excellent frescoes in the chapel. The monastery also has a view looking out to the Faraglioni, the towering rocks emerging from the sea which are such a distinctive feature of Capri.
We then have a lunch break before heading out to the Villa Jovis. Passing a series of luxury villas and gardens, you pass through the outskirts of town and reach the ancient Roman site.
The Villa Jovis was the largest and most sumptuous of the island’s 12 Roman villas and Tiberius’ main Capri residence. A vast pleasure complex, now reduced to ruins, it famously pandered to the emperor’s debauched tastes, and included imperial quarters and extensive bathing areas set in dense gardens and woodland.
The stairway behind the villa leads to the 330m-high Salto di Tiberio (Tiberius’ Leap), a sheer cliff from where, as the story goes, Tiberius had out-of-favour subjects hurled into the sea. Today Tiberius’ Leap is worth a look for the view.
Later in the afternoon you’ll find Capri has plenty of scope for simply browsing the shops and enjoying the ambience. Stroll down to the Gardens of Augustus for some more great views.
We return by ferry to Amalfi late afternoon.
In the evening we have the final dinner, enjoying the best of Amalfi cuisine and celebrating the week we’ve had in this special part of Italy.
Day 6: ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME
By now you know the local barista by name – and he knows which coffee you order – but we must say ‘arrivederci’ to Amalfi and return to Rome.
En route we visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii. Here we have a guided visit, where we see evidence of the lifestyle of the inhabitants of this Roman city, as well as the destruction caused by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79AD. Even for those who have visited Pompeii before, having a specialist guide provides an in depth experience that is very revealing.
We enjoy a final lunch together in Pompeii, having our last chance to enjoy regional cuisine, before heading north to Rome.
We reach Rome early evening.