Italy Rediscovered

Naples, Amalfi & Craco

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The itinerary below is an example of what we can and have put together. We can use this as a base for your own customized journey through Italy.


Pricing shown in an estimate. Prices will vary. Our tours are all private. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

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Day 1 – Arrival in Naples

Benvenuto and welcome to Italy. Your JBT guide will meet you at Rome Fiumicino Airport and accompany you to Naples. It’s just over an hour by rail to the Central Station where you can easily reach your accommodation on foot to refresh. On your way you’ll feel a palpable energy unlike any other city in Italy. This is where Maradona is worshipped like a god, pizza was invented and the mafia still exists. Your local guide will help you navigate the urban chaos and show you what has attracted travelers since the dawn of tourism. The city is crammed with castles, museums, restaurants, churches, shops and nearly a million inhabitants who prefer to spend their time outdoors. Watching them go about their daily routines is half the fun. The other half is partaking in those routines yourself and by the end of the day you’ll have discovered what coffee should taste like, spoken your first words of Neapolitan slang and learned how to cross unruly roads.

Day 2 – Underground Naples

Naples starts underground and to understand what’s above you need to go down below. Fortunately, it’s cooler and less crowded where your guide will be taking you. In the morning you’ll explore Napoli Sotterranea (Naples Underground) to discover tunnels, catacombs and the ancient Roman foundations upon which the modern city rests. Before emerging into the cacophony of streets you’ll visit the Fontanelle Cemetery, an eerie burial site located in an old underground quarry. Afterwards you’ll sidle up next to hungry locals at a pizzeria that’s been run by three generations of the same family. Your pizza education will start with Margherita, invented by an enterprising chef for a visiting monarch. The result transformed global palates and will provide the energy you need to explore the Spagnoli neighborhood in the historic center. Next you’ll ride a funicular up to the Vomero section of the city for a view of the gulf, islands and the ever-present Mount Vesuvius looming in the distance. Before calling it a day you’ll take a peek inside the Secret Cabinet at the Naples Archaeological Museum, housing ancient erotic art that was off limits to the public until recently and now provides a vivid reminder of how little has changed over the last 2,000 years.

Day 3 – Volcano Adventure

You’ve seen it in the distance but today you’ll get an up-close look of Mount Vesuvius and hike to the summit for panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples. On the way you’ll visit Herculaneum, an ancient Roman town buried by the famous eruption. You’ll be accompanied by an archeologist who will reveal the well-preserved streets and villas that may not be as famous as Pompeii but are just as amazing. After an outdoor lunch of freshly made pasta and delicious house wine at a vibrant trattoria you’ll continue on to one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. Venting and tectonic activity are visible the closer you get along with flora and fauna that thrive in the lava rich soil. At the top you’ll get a spectacular view of the city and the sea on one side, and the crater on the other. The volcano may be dormant, but it far from extinct as is evident from vapors that percolate up from the earth. There are two summits, Mount Somma and the cone of Vesuvius. Your guide will walk you through the stunning Valle del Gigante (Valley of the Giant) and Valle del Inferno (Valley of Hell) before following a different route back to Naples and a well-deserved rest.

Day 4 – Matera City of Caves

You’ll get an early start and reach Matera in the Basilicata region before noon. This one-of-a-kind town is known for its unique cave dwellings (Sassi) built into the surrounding rocks. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and you’ll understand why as you explore it with your local guide.  There are hundreds of house-caves carved into the soft tufa rock. No one has lived here since the 1950s making the neighborhood a tranquil contrast to the hustle and bustle of the new town located nearby. Many of the Middle Age dwellings have been converted to workshops used by craftspeople from all over the world. There’s plenty to browse and buy from artists making original sculptures, paintings and objects by hand. Later you’ll taste local specialties in an ancient restaurant, walk along rugged landscapes connecting dozens of chapels built in the surrounding hillsides and follow the Strada Panoramica dei Sassito trail for the best view of the town. You’ll spend the night in a boutique cave hotel hollowed out in the 1700s and equipped with 21st century comforts.

Day 5 – Alberobello and Trulli Houses

Once you get your fill of local almond biscuits, you’ll drive along scenic back roads through olive groves to Alberobello in central Puglia. Here you’ll discover circular whitewashed trulli houses with high conical roofs topped with slate. The unique skyline has been recognized as a national monument since 1930 and could easily be mistaken for a fairytale town. On your way to the top of the Monti neighborhood, you’ll explore narrow lanes, back alleys, and cul-de-sacs where locals still live and go about their business unaware of the architectural beauty that surrounds them. Many of the trulli can be visited and the insides are just as interesting as the outsides. You’ll tour the Trullo Sovrano in Piazza Sacramento with your guide and discover two floors and 12 cones that were begun in the 16th century and initially used as a place of worship. After lunch you’ll explore the quieter Aia Piccola neighborhood along Via Brigata Regina and Museo del Territorio di Alberobello which recounts the history of the community inside a large trulli dating from the 18th century. In the evening you’ll partake in a private cooking class and learn how to make local Apulian dishes.

Day 6 – Sun, Sea and Archaeology

Taranto is a short drive away and combines history, culture, and cuisine. You’ll start with a visit of the Aragonese Castle, perched on the hill overlooking town. Your guide will decipher the centuries-old architecture and Taranto’s fascinating multi-cultural history as you stroll through the charming streets of the old town. As midday approaches, you’ll step inside a historic trattoria and treat your tastebuds to a plate of frittura di pesce, a mouthwatering fried seafood dish. Afterwards, you’ll head to the port and Spiaggia di San Vito, where turquoise waters beckon. Relax on the sandy shores, take a dip, or give water sports like kite surfing and stand-up paddle a try. Later you’ll delve into Taranto’s ancient past at the National Archaeological Museum where you can see artifacts and archaeological treasures that recall the city’s Greek heritage. As the sun sets locals take their daily seaside walks and you can soak up the atmosphere before settling down at an outdoor osteria to enjoy a plate of orecchiette (little ears) pasta with a glass of the local Primitivo wine.

Day 7 – Abandoned Village of Craco

Today you’ll discover the ghost town of Craco, abandoned in the 1960s and explore the deserted village back in Basilicata. Your morning here will be a unique journey through history and the beauty of a forgotten town. It’s a chance to wander through narrow, deserted streets, and admire medieval remains. The iconic Chiesa di San Nicola, a beautiful church, lies at the center of a maze of abandoned buildings that have been gradually reclaimed by nature. You’ll be glad to have packed a picnic and will have no problem finding a cozy spot with panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys that make up the region. At the Craco Archaeological Park you’ll join a guided tour where you’ll discover the village’s rich history, its rise and fall, and the geological factors that led to its abandonment. There are underground tunnels and cellars to explore which once served as crucial parts of Craco’s daily life. Along the way the Museo Diffuso di Craco reveals artifacts and exhibitions that shed light on the village’s past and former residents. As the day draws to a close, make your way to the viewpoint near the abandoned cemetery and a breathtaking sunset over the fertile hillsides.

Day 8 – Pollino National Park

Parco Naturale del Pollino is the largest national park in Italy. It’s located between Calabria and Basilicata and forms a natural border between the two regions. There’s a great variety of landscapes and wilderness where cuirassed pine, the emblem of the park, cling to rocky slopes. Rolling hills and mountains alternate with lush valleys full of wildflowers in spring, and upland plains where sheep have grazed since antiquity. Among the most typical animals are the capriolo (roebuck), wolf, and golden eagle. In addition to catching some enchanting sea views, it’s also possible to visit tiny villages with remnants of arbëreshe culture that can be traced back to the Balkans. The customs and folklore of these towns has survived for centuries within a spectacular natural backdrop that provides visitors with a dual attraction. You can go on an excursion with a skilled mountain guide or set off on your own adventure from the park office from where a number of trails depart. The Lao River’s gentle current makes the park ideal for rafting, canoeing and river boarding. You’ll pick up all the equipment you need from Canoa Club Lao Pollino and spend the night in a mountain lodge surrounded by nature.

Day 9 – Ancient Wonders of Paestum

Today you’ll continue north to Paestum, a picturesque town renowned for its ancient Greek temples and stunning Mediterranean coastline. It’s another UNESCO World Heritage site where you’ll explore three massive Doric temples – Temple of Hera, Temple of Neptune, and the Basilica – dating from the 6th and 5th centuries BC. Your guide will lead you through the city’s ruins and bring the ancient civilization that once thrived here to life. Inside the Paestum National Archaeological Museum, you’ll find a remarkable collection of artifacts, including pottery, sculptures, and tomb paintings. Afterwards you’ll savor a delicious Italian lunch at a local trattoria where you can try the regional specialty, buffalo mozzarella cheese, paired with fresh tomatoes and basil in a Caprese salad. There’s also plenty of local pasta and seafood dishes, like pasta alle vongole (pasta with clams). In the afternoon, you’ll take a short drive to the nearby sandy beaches. The pristine coast and crystal-clear waters are perfect for unwinding and explains why the Greeks settled here. You’ll end the day with a leisurely stroll through modern Paestum’s charming town center, explore quaint streets, and stop at a local gelateria for a scoop of authentic Italian gelato.

Day 10 – Amalfi Coast

Prepare for a day of breathtaking scenery, delicious cuisine, and charming coastal towns along the Amalfi Coast. Start the day in Amalfi itself and explore the historic center with its narrow streets and white-washed houses. Visit the stunning cathedral, a masterpiece of Arab-Norman architecture. Stroll along the picturesque harbor, where you can take in views of the azure sea. The area is full of bays and coves, plus its own Emerald Grotto at Conca di Marina. Later embark on a scenic drive along the winding coastal road to the cliffside town of Positano to savor a leisurely Mediterranean lunch at a seaside restaurant. Try freshly grilled seafood, local pasta, and the famous limoncello liqueur, made from Amalfi lemons. Explore the narrow streets and boutiques or sunbathe on the pebbly shore. In the late afternoon, drive to Ravello where you’ll find magnificent gardens at Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo. Cap the day with a spectacular dinner watching the sunset from one of Ravello’s scenic viewpoints.

Day 11 – Departure

Indulge in a traditional Italian breakfast with espresso and pastries galore before heading back to Rome.

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