Capri, Pompeii & the Bay of Naples; This Italian Tour Is a Mail on Sunday Holiday Favourite, Enchanting Those Who Venture There. Come Explore the Bustling City That Is Naples, the Spectacular Sorrento Peninsula - and Somewhat Eerie Vesuvius; EIGHT DAYS FROM ONLY [Pounds sterling]599PP HALF-BOARD
FOR centuries the Sorrento peninsula and the Bay of Naples have attracted visitors looking for outstanding scenery, tranquillity and some of the most remarkable sights from throughout history. Invasions by the Greeks, Phoenicians and Saracens have all left their legacies - but none more so than that of the Romans.
Even 2,000 years ago, the attributes of the region were well known with the Emperors Tiberius and Augustus, together with countless members of the ruling elite, who had villas here. But Sorrento came to real fame in the late 18th century, when many members of Europe's aristocracy went to spend their winters there, attracted by its mild climate and outstanding natural beauty. Sumptuous houses and grandiose hotels were built along the cliff tops and today Sorrento is everything you expect an Italian town to be: tiny cobbled streets and quaint squares with flowers decorating almost every building: tubs of geraniums, dark blue clematis climbing up pastel-coloured, almost crumbling walls, with pink hydrangeas and roses in almost every open space, all shaded by lofty palm trees offering welcome shade. Mouth-watering aromas drift from the numerous restaurants and bistros, some humble and homely, some grand and ostentatious, with pavement cafes serving fine cappuccino seemingly on every street corner.
Every guidebook proclaims the legendary Amalfi coastline the most beautiful in Europe. When you see it, it really is impossible to disagree. Deep red mountains covered with pine forests plunge dramatically into the calm blue Mediterranean.
Then to Capri, which possesses a deserved reputation as a veritable Garden of Eden. It will come as no surprise that so many of the rich and famous have made it their home.
Wherever you travel in the Bay of Naples, the skyline is dominated by the majestic and still-active volcano Vesuvius, rising loftily to over 4,000 ft. As you will no doubt be aware, it has erupted in spectacular fashion several times in its history - the most famous, of course, being in 79AD, when the Roman city of Pompeii, together with many of its inhabitants, were entombed. Their state of preservation today is little short of remarkable.
All in all there can be few places where you will find so much of interest, in an area of such outstanding natural beauty, as along the Bay of Naples.
DAY 1: You are spoilt for choice after touching down in Naples. You transfer by coach to the hotel of your choice, all on a half-board basis. Villa Maria offers three-star accommodation, tastefully decorated with full air-conditioning, in an excellent central location. It has a very good restaurant and pool. The three-star luxury of La Badia, a sympathetically converted 16th century abbey with original stonework, gives this family-run hotel a superb ambience. Located behind Sorrento, it has superb views which, on a clear day, offer the sea, Sorrento, the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius. It is set in four acres of lovely gardens and fragrant citrus groves and has an outdoor pool. Dine in the fine restaurant or, weather permitting, the terrace overlooking the bay. …