Those on group flights fly to Naples, where they will be met by their tour leader on arrival. A transfer of approximately 1 hour 20 minutes takes us to the Hotel Due Torri, our base for the week in the village of Bomerano, on the Agerola plains above the Amalfi Coast. Enjoy a warm welcome from our local hosts, the Acampora family, before settling in. Land only clients can arrive at any time, although we do recommend to join the group at the airport as public transport options to the hotel are limited.
From the hotel it's a short stroll to the village square (or in the case of Bomerano, a triangle) and the start of today’s walk. The circular route provides a good chance to stretch the legs; following a mixture of paths and tracks we ascend to the top of Monte Tre Calli to be rewarded with spectacular wide-open views of the jagged coastline and seemingly endless blue sea. The Agerola Plain and the village of Bomerano are laid out below us and on a clear day we can see as far as the famous island of Capri, a haven and idyllic hideaway for many celebrated artists and writers over the past 200 years. After admiring the majestic scenery descend to Bomerano and enjoy some rest time before a hearty dinner.
Start walking towards Amalfi, a town popular with the British since Edwardian times when the upper classes favoured it as a pleasant place to spend their winters. The route has a downhill bias, following the path from Bomerano at 700m to the shores of the Mediterranean, accompanied by wonderful coastal views. There are sections of steps today (approx. 2000 in total), but there are also plenty of opportunities to rest and go at your own pace. On arrival, you will see the large Duomo (Cathedral) dominating the town with its brightly-coloured tiled cupola (dome), which along with the baroque facade and interior, is a typical example of regional architecture. Take some time to explore the town, swim in the small bay or enjoy a well-earned gelato before taking the transfer back to Bomerano.
Transfer to the Bay of Naples, the area spanning between the region’s capital city, Naples, and the town famed for its lemon groves, Sorrento. Situated on the lower foothills of the volcano dominating the Gulf, Pompeii was a thriving port town until Vesuvius’ catastrophic eruption spanning two days in 79AD during which the city was buried in ash and pumice. Lost for 1700 years, Pompeii is now a UNESCO World Heritage site as the perfectly preserved remains give us an amazing insight into life in a Roman city, complete with bathhouses, bakeries and homes – some of which still have walls adorned with detailed frescoes. You may take some time to explore the site this morning, perhaps opting for a detailed tour accompanied by a local guide. After lunch, travel by bus high up onto the slopes of Vesuvius to view the volcanic crater. Depending on weather conditions, it may be possible to take one of the many extended walks around the caldera and beyond, led by an expert volcanologist (optional).
Today's walk starts in Ravello, a town much favoured by the Bloomsbury set and other artists and intellectuals due to its secluded location and inspirational scenery. Before setting off for the walk we have some free time to explore the town and visit Villa Cimbrone or Villa Rufolo with their meticulously landscaped gardens and breath-taking views out to the sea (optional). The route today is mostly downhill but it does include a considerable amount of steps. After descending and taking a quick stop in the village of Pontone, we continue through wooden bridges and shady paths carpeted with wild flowers in season, to the beautiful moss-clad waterfalls within the closed gates of the Valle delle Ferriere National Park. Finally, following the stream gently downwards through lemon groves, past the shells of former paper factories (a major local industry from the 12th to 19th centuries) and mediaeval ironworks we reach Amalfi. 5 hours walking, 10km – 6.2 miles, 214m – 702ft up - 450m – 1476ft down).
Today we have a day at leisure to relax at the hotel or go down to the seafront. The hotel also offers private transfers (payable locally) to the most popular attractions in the region not covered during the rest of the week, including the city of Herculaneum. Also destroyed during the disaster of 79AD, Herculaneum was buried in mud rather than ash and it is said that this lead to the site being even better preserved than the bigger Pompeii. You might instead choose to take a ferry to the chic island of Capri and the funicular through lemon groves up to Capri town. These optional excursions can be arranged locally by your leader. Alternatively, spend the free day by the pool or in true Italian style in a café, sipping espresso and watching the world go by!
A fitting finale to the week is one of the world's finest day walks. Leaving the hotel it's a short stroll through the quiet village of Bomerano before we join the ‘Sentiero degli Dei’ (Walk of the Gods), thus named as it provides some of the most evocative views in the world, of ragged cliffs speckled with tiny villages and extensive views of the sparkling Mediterranean sea. The route follows undulating hills, carpeted with flowers in season, the contours of the land and the coast. The trail is broken by insights into local life, passing shepherds huts and ancient stone houses carved into the limestone before we descend a long series of steps to the colourful Positano, an almost vertical town clinging to the rock face of a sheltered bay. Take some time to explore the alleyways lined with wisteria and designer boutiques or have a dip in the clear water of the beachfront before returning to Bomerano by boat and bus (seasonal) in the late afternoon. During the week many meals will have included some delicious local smoked mozzarella cheese and before dinner, we will have the chance to see how it is made and taste the mouth-wateringly fresh final product.
Trip ends in Bomerano. **
* 7 nights family-run hotel with small outdoor swimming pool and en suite facilities * 4 days centre-based guided walking; 1 sightseeing day with additional optional walk and 1 free day * Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs. * Altitude maximum 1109m, average 600m * All transport by private minibus and boat * Not suitable for severe vertigo sufferers * Moderate walks, leisurely pace; good level of fitness recommended * Order of activities and walks subject to change depending on number of groups booked each week
All breakfasts, 4 packed lunches and 6 dinners are included. Breakfast is continental style with a choice of cereal, bread, pastries, yoghurt, orange juice and milk with an array of teas/coffee. Included packed lunches usually consist of a sandwich filled with a choice of cold meats, tuna or local cheeses. All evening meals are taken in the hotel, where the standard is excellent and the chef takes great pride in showcasing the best of regional foods, including dishes such as ‘Scialatielli all'amalfitana’ (homemade pasta with seafood) and ‘branzino all’acqua pazza’ (seabass in crazy water!). Dinners usually consist of four courses, commencing with antipasti, followed by soup and/or pasta, a main meat dish with salad or vegetables and dessert. On certain evenings, there is the opportunity to learn how to make the famous Neapolitan pizza. Please note that drinks are not included with meals but available to purchase. Vegetarians are well catered for in Italy.
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