Leave Rome and travel southwards along the Apennine mountains and through fertile roman countryside passing the rich vineyards where Frascati wine is produced and reach Montecassino with its nearby historical Abbey founded by St. Benedict in the 6th century, seat of the oldest monastic order in the western world. In its celebrated schools St. Thomas of Aquinus studied as a youth and in the Middle Ages Gregorian songs were first composed here. Arrive at Naples, 3rd largest city in Italy , famous for its vivacious inhabitants, colourful alleys lined with washing, Neapolitan melodies and for the invention of pizza and maccheroni.
Stop at Posillipo hill to admire, from atop, the most spectacular views of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius Vulcano. See as far as Sorrento and Isle of Capri and understand why this splendid Mediterranean setting became the favourite holiday and relaxation area of emperors, wealthy patrician senators and poets in antiquity. Descending to the shoreline visit Mergellina, the old port where fishermen sell their morning catch and drive along the elegant quarters past the Villa Pubblica, a park with exuberant subtropical plants and trees, and site of the world's oldest aquarium.
Then on to Santa Lucia area made famous by the popular tune to see the Middle Age Dell'Ovo Castle. Cross the historical centre of town to see Piazza del Plebiscito, the Royal Spanish Bourbon Palace, San Francesco di Paola's Basilica, the San Carlo Opera House of Enrico Caruso memories, King Humbert II Gallery and the impressive Maschio Angioino, a fortress erected during the French medieval domination. Leave Naples by skirting the bay and driving along the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius, passing Herculaneum, Portici and Torre del Greco ,reach Pompeii.
Time for lunch and visit the excavations on foot with a local guide , enjoying an archaeological exploration through the ancient city. Visit what has been discovered of the forgotten city after 1700 years of its concealment by deep layers of lapilli and ashes in the dramatic volcanic eruption of 79 a.d. See the Temple of Apollo, Forum, Temple of Hercules, Theatre and Odeion, basilicas, taverns and shops along the Way of Abbondance, the Market and rich residences with their frescoes and mosaics, the Roman Baths. After your exploration visit a cameo and coral factory , the traditional craft introduced by the ancient Greeks and head back for Rome.
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