Naples (Pompeii/Amalfi), Italy
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Approximately 7 hours
Relax and enjoy the scenery on the drive to Pompeii -- the world's finest example of an ancient Roman town.
Set out on a walking tour of Pompeii, led by a professional historian guide who knows a great deal about the life and times of this city that was frozen in time by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Admire the luxurious mansions and fabulous art of wealthy patricians who came to Pompeii to escape the turmoil in Rome. Their houses were designed around an inner garden with few windows on the exteriors, so residents could forget the outside world and enjoy sunlight from their own courtyard. Visit some of the more modest homes, and explore ancient baths, temples, theaters, marketplaces and the huge forum. Inscriptions and public notices reveal an astonishing similarity with modern times -- political announcements, advertisements for wine sales, apartment vacancies and upcoming events such as theatre performances and gladiator fights.
Take a break to enjoy a typical Italian lunch, served at a local restaurant.
Visit the Archaeological Museum of Naples -- one of the most important museums in the world with its priceless collections of sculptures, bronzes, ceramics, paintings, mosaics, old Roman jewelry and other works of art representing this ancient civilization. Don't miss the 'secret cabinet' (opening hours permitting) -- a collection of erotic and sexually explicit finds from Pompeii. Ancient Roman culture had a different sense of sexual morality from most present-day cultures -- hence the public proliferation of sexually explicit material, including erotic frescoes, depictions of the god Priapus, symbols and inscriptions. Although the excavation of Pompeii was initially an Enlightenment project, once the artifacts were later classified through a new taxonomy, many were locked away in a Secret Museum. The doorway was sealed in 1849, and locked metal cabinets were constructed over Pompeii's erotic frescoes, which could be shown, for a modest fee, to gentlemen but not to ladies. This is a fascinating glimpse into the social mores of the Ancient Romans.
Use of an audio headset (included) will enhance your tour experience. Tour does not operate on Tuesdays. Tour requires a significant amount of walking. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Shade is limited; to avoid sunburn, wear light, long clothing suitable for use as a cover-up. Bring a hat and sunglasses; wear biodegradable sunscreen. Bring bottled water. Backpacks and large bags are not allowed inside the Pompeii excavation site.