The Travellers' Club - Holidays for discerning travellers Halnaker Park Cottage, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QH
Telephone 01243 773597

NAPLES - History, art & architecture

27 April – 3 May 2012

with Anthony Earl

To book this tour, click here

PROVISIONAL COST: Including flights; 6 nights Bed &  Breakfast in twin rooms at 4* Albergo Santa Lucia on the waterfront; 3 dinners; transfers and touring by local bus/metro; guided visits: £1145
EXTRAS: Insurance; Single Room £265 (but very few single rooms); additional meals; entrance fees [some free or reduced for those over 65].

If the young beaux on the Grand Tour spent up to six months living it up in Rome, their real ambition was to travel as far as Naples, capital of a powerful and prosperous independent kingdom which reached its apogee in the eighteenth century. Sited as it is in the most beautiful bay in the Mediterranean, it is at the centre of  classic trade routes which go back  to ancient Roman and New Testament times, and which still function today. Opulent gardens, tumbledown palaces, half-hidden artistic treasures, zestful street markets, fabulous churches all form the backdrop for the real theatre, which is the people of Naples themselves. Even a passing visitor notes their spirited attitude to life, their constant sense of humour, their quick wits working mainly to their own advantage, and the overwhelming sense of energy throughout. Tourists for 300 years have learnt to sidestep chaos, and smile or even laugh aloud at the dominant sense of fun.

We shall visit one of Europe’s greatest, yet little-visited art galleries; discover rich illustrated tiles in a monastery garden; find a weird sculpture which seems made of fine cloth; enjoy ravishing views, eat or sip coffee in establishments patronized by the glamorous & if the programme allows attend a performance at the best Opera House in southern Europe. Within reach are other famous venues: Ischia, for a boat ride across the bay, site of Lady Walton’s  garden; Caserta, where a huge royal palace evokes Versailles; and the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum - there will be opportunity for those who wish to see them. For free evenings, Anthony can offer advice on restaurants. For gastronomes it should be said that the speciality is always fish, with, perhaps the Lachryma Christi white wine.


Friday 27th April: direct flight to Naples, or arrive by train from Rome, and transfer to hotel Santa Lucia Dinner in hotel restaurant.

Saturday 28th April:  public transport and walking; Getting to know the city: (a short explanatory talk will begin the day); then off to the National Gallery of Capodimonte, where we will explore the most significant works, and the adjacent porcelain museum. In the afternoon, we shall stroll through the famous Via dei Tribunali  and see the  Duomo, and the quaint shops of San Gregorio Armeno. Dinner at own choice.

Sunday 29th  April: public transport and walking: after an initial explanatory talk, we shall spend time in the National Archeological Museum and then move on to the Royal  Palace and the Castel Nuovo; in the afternoon the quarter of Spaccanapoli, including the  convent of Santa Chiara and  the sculptures in San Severo. The street scenes and traders are especially atmospheric, and human life is viewed in teeming variety. We shall dine together, in a restaurant chosen for its typical style.

Monday  30th April: By bus and foot: the morning will be spent in the area of Vomero, mainly in the Convent of San Martino, with its luxurious church, civic museum and  panoramic viewing platform.
In the afternoon we shall enjoy a short coach trip to Pozzuoli, La Solfatara (a bubbling mud field) and Cumae,  place of ancient prophecies. We hope that this evening will offer a visit to the opera at San Carlo (at own expense). Dinner: own choice.

Tuesday 1st May Whole day coach trip to Caserta, town of the largest  baroque royal palace in Europe  with  its park stretching two kilometres beyond the palace, and then on to Caserta La Vecchia to see the ancient Romanesque  town . Dinner at a restaurant of own choice back in Naples.

Wednesday 2nd May April:  Optional excursions of your own choice:  proposed: Ischia by  hydrofoil, with bus tour of the island and visit to  Sir William Walton’s garden; or Pompeii for first timers to Naples; or Herculaneum and Oplontis for  classical enthusiasts. We shall dine together for our farewell evening in the hotel.

Thursday 3rd April; transfer to airport and return to London.


Scenes of Naples – 18th century, 20th century and 19th century