ITALY TOURS | SMALL GROUP TOUR
Amalfi Coast ... stunning towns, colourful houses clinging to the cliffs, the cerulean sea. Italy With Pleasure will give you more – we take you to places most tourists don’t see ... Experience a cooking lesson in an organic garden, see traditional ceramics being produced, and visit local pasticcerias that are masters at what they do. This gives you an in-depth insight into the lifestyle of the people who cultivate this land and the layers of history that make up the fascinating Amalfi Coast region. We enjoy long lunches, taking time over the multiple courses to enjoy the atmosphere and to relax.
- Key locations such as Positano, Capri, Ravello and Amalfi
- We take you to see how the people who cultivate the land and traditions here, be it the small family run winery, the fifth generation lemon growers (and we enjoy trying their limoncello, of course!) or our cheese maker showing us how to make mozzarella (and you can try making it for yourself too)
- a visit to Pompeii, and as this is guided by an archaeologist it is interesting even to those who may have been there before
- A culinary focus, with a range of meals throughout the week designed to showcase the Amalfi cuisine. Ever tried the chocolate aubergine dish called “mulignan ca' ciucculata”?
- Our tours are a balance between being informative (historical details, examples of the culture and lifestyle) as well as having everything that makes for an enjoyable trip (long lunches in good restaurants, a relaxed pace, free time in places we visit)
- We stay for the week in one place, the town of Amalfi. By staying at the Hotel Residence (4 star) you are in the perfect location, with the beach out the front and the main piazza a few steps the other way
- Our Small Group Tour has a maximum of 14 people
- You have our tour manager with you throughout the week, available to provide support and assistance when you need it. Many people appreciate having someone to turn to who is familiar with the local area, whether it be for help getting something from a pharmacy / drugstore, or simply where to find the best gelato!
- This is the trip that you’d design for yourself. We are Italy... with pleasure
- Our 6 day tour starts and finishes in Naples
“I am widely travelled and have never been on a tour before so went with some trepidation.It was the absolute highlight of my travels in Italy and definitely the best food I had the whole time. I cannot recommend Italy with Pleasure more highly don't even think about it just book with them you will not be disappointed I am sure.”
“Our time travelling with ‘Italy with Pleasure’ was our best experience. Believe all that they say in their brochure... family run, hands on and very professional. Their standards are high and they are very responsive to everyone’s needs. They source excellent restaurants... way beyond our experiences with other companies we travelled with. We highly recommend this company, have mentioned it to friends and fellow travellers”
“The itinerary was well organized and done at a comfortable pace: touring in the morning followed by mouth-watering lunch featuring the specialties of the area as well as fine wines of the area. All of the restaurants were excellent as was the food. It was a wonderful week and I will have many fond memories of my stay. This tour is a gem and I highly recommend it!”
“The tour group was quite small, 8 people all delightful. We were driven to some very interesting towns and other sites, where guides introduced us to the art and history... The tour was full but not too intense so we felt we had enough time to enjoyed the excellent food and wine which were highlights of the tour for us. I wholeheartedly recommend this tour.”
“The places that we visited were fascinating and very unique, and the food and wine was delectable. I didn't know what to expect of the trip, but it more than fulfilled any hopes that I had for a great week. Everything was well organised and the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. I can thoroughly recommend the tour.”
“The way the tours are organised is very civilised. After a morning tour, always interesting in itself, we adjourn to a local restaurant for a late lunch and to experience the range of local foods cooked superbly... This tour stays in one place and each day we were escorted in a mini bus to our destination. A most enjoyable experience and well organised with a personal touch.”
See these and other reviews on TripAdvisor
The hotel we use for this tour, the Residence Hotel, is a good quality hotel right in the heart of the town of Amalfi (with a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ rating of 4.5 / 5 by Tripadvisor). By staying centrally you get to really experience the vibrancy of this town. The hotel is wonderfully situated on the waterfront. One side you have uninterrupted sea views, and a few steps the other way you have ‘la dolce vita’ of Italian piazza life. You can stroll into town whenever you like to have a gelato or browse the shops (with no shuttle bus needed like you would from hotels further from town). Outside the hotel is a swimming beach, perfect for relaxing after a day out sightseeing. Being a 4 star hotel a full range of features is included, such as wifi, air conditioning, and a cocktail bar.
We find that people very much appreciate that the tour is based in one place for the week, meaning that there is no need to pack/unpack, and you really get to know the town where you are staying.
We depart from Naples at 2:30pm, heading to the Amalfi Coast. We have a few interesting stops along the way.
A short drive after lunch takes us to the start of the Amalfi Peninsula and the town of Vietri Sul Mare. This is the major ceramic producing town of the Amalfi Coast. The key production is of the vibrantly coloured ceramics that are made using the maiolica method. We visit a manufacturer where we can see the ceramics being produced and painted, continuing a tradition that started in the 1500s. We see the incredible array of colours and creative designs of their finished product.
After looking through the town of Vietri Sul Mare we make our way along the stunning Amalfi Coast road, with hairpin bends and amazing views in equal measure - you'll realise the value in having a professional driver for the trip. We reach the town of Amalfi in the early evening, where we stay for the duration of the tour.
The town of Amalfi is really the heart of the Amalfi Coast – the centre of the marine republic of the 11th century, and still now it has a proud community living and working here. The depth of history here is profound, but equally it is a wonderful place to sit in the piazza, enjoy a coffee and watch the world go by.
Our hotel, the Hotel Residence, is wonderfully situated on the waterfront. One side you have uninterrupted sea views, and a few steps the other way you have ‘la dolce vita’ of Italian piazza life. By staying centrally you get to really experience the vibrancy of this town. You can stroll into town whenever you like to have a gelato or browse the shops (with no shuttle bus needed like you would from hotels further from town). Outside the hotel is a swimming beach, perfect for relaxing after a day out sightseeing. Being a 4 star hotel a full range of features is included, such as wifi, air conditioning, an excellent restaurant and a cocktail bar. Tonight we dine together, having our first introduction to the cuisine of the Amalfi Coast.
Meals: Dinner (3 courses including wine)
The Amalfi Coast cuisine is renowned for the combination of traditional techniques and superb fresh ingredients.
Today we learn how it's made with a hands-on cooking lesson.
For the cooking lesson we travel to Ravello, which has long been a favourite destination for both musicians and well-heeled travellers.
We meet our charming chef and start our culinary experience. On a terrace with a view out over the Tyrrhenian Sea, you could well linger here for the morning.
Here we work through the preparations for our lunch, which we then enjoy overlooking the coast. First we get hands-on making fresh mozzarella, with the ‘casaro’ (cheesemaker). This will later be an ingredient in our antipasto. Then we work through the preparations for our lunch, which we enjoy overlooking the coast.
After lunch we visit the famous Villa Cimbrone. The villa was built originally in the 11th century as a residence for a noble family. The grounds are beautifully kept, and the terrace adjacent to the formal garden offers the best views in Ravello, looking down over terraced lemon groves to the sparkling waters below.
We spend the remainder of the afternoon in Ravello with some free time.
You may choose to visit the Villa Rufolo, another noble residence which famously inspired the composer Wagner.
Or simply wander through some of the lanes and relax around the piazza area where there are numerous shops and cafes.
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch (including wine)
In the morning we visit the cathedral in Amalfi. This is more than just a church. Rather it is a complex of different buildings from different era and is the heart of Amalfi. From the evocatively named ‘Cloister of Paradise’, with elegant marble colonnades, frescoed private chapels and an ancient Roman sarcophagus; the Romanesque style Church of the Crucifix to the 13th century Crypt of St Andrew, down below the church where Saint Andrew is buried. And finally into the main cathedral, with its elaborate baroque decorations.
By moving through the sections of this cathedral complex you get a feeling for the illustrious history of Amalfi, from ancient Roman times, through to the Marine Republic years and on to more modern times.
Late morning we drive to a small town in the hills above Amalfi where we visit a wine producer. On the drive up to this winery you'll be glad we have hired a professional driver, such are the tight turns. On arrival at the winery you also see during our vineyard visit how difficult this land is to work, and the ancient vines that they are custodians of.
We have a guided visit through the vineyards and the winery. This winery is family run, and after our visit they prepare for us a lunch – including the excellent salami that they also produce.
During our lunch we enjoy a number of their reserve wines. Some of the varieties used to make these wines are unique to the Amalfi area.
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch (4 course lunch including wine)
This morning we are taken into a valley beyond Amalfi, nestled into the hills, where the famous Amalfi Coast lemons are produced. We are shown around a family company who for seven generations have been producing limoncello. This is called ‘vertical farming’ – lemons are cultivated on terraces on a steep hillside. The back of this valley is a type of heat trap, the hillside lemons gaining excellent sun exposure. After seeing how the lemons are grown, we are shown how their limoncello is made. Of course, we sample their excellent product too!
Today we visit Positano, famous for elegant fashion boutiques and seaside charm, this has been a holiday destination since Roman times.
Positano has an enviable combination of a good beach with a broad seaside promenade, with cafes and chic boutiques jostling for position in the pastel coloured buildings. This is a good time for a swim.
We meet Positano for lunch, in a restaurant overlooking the beach. After a relaxing lunch we have some free time in the afternoon. You can spend some of the afternoon exploring the narrow back streets lined with bougainvillea, or just find your nearest café, put your feet up and sample the local gelato.
To return to Amalfi we go by boat, and cruising along the coast reveals a new perspective on the area, with some incredible houses tucked away and tiny hidden beaches.
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch (3 course lunch including wine)
Today we travel to Capri, a favoured destination for the rich and famous in recent times, but also with an interesting history stretching back beyond ancient Roman times.
On Capri we take the funicular railway up to the town centre, where top fashion boutiques jostle for space alongside locals selling fruit and vegetables.
Starting from the centre of town we first visit a monastery that many visitors to Capri do not enter. This is a fascinating place, with the remains of excellent frescoes in the chapel. The monastery also has a view looking out to the Faraglioni, the towering rocks emerging from the sea which are such a distinctive feature of Capri.
We then have a lunch break before heading out to the Villa Jovis. Passing a series of luxury villas and gardens, you pass through the outskirts of town and reach the ancient Roman site. The Villa Jovis was the largest and most sumptuous of the island’s 12 Roman villas and Tiberius’ main Capri residence. A vast pleasure complex, now reduced to ruins, it famously pandered to the emperor’s debauched tastes, and included imperial quarters and extensive bathing areas set in dense gardens and woodland.
The stairway behind the villa leads to the 330m-high Salto di Tiberio (Tiberius’ Leap), a sheer cliff from where, as the story goes, Tiberius had out-of-favour subjects hurled into the sea. Today Tiberius’ Leap is worth a look for the view.
Later in the afternoon you’ll find Capri has plenty of scope for simply browsing the shops and enjoying the ambience. Stroll down to the Gardens of Augustus for some more great views.
We return by ferry to Amalfi late afternoon.
In the evening we have the final dinner, enjoying the best of Amalfi cuisine and celebrating the week we’ve had in this special part of Italy.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner (3 course dinner including wine)
By now you know the local barista by name - and he knows which coffee you order - but we must say 'arrivederci' to Amalfi.
First we visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii. Here we have a guided visit, where we see both evidences of the lifestyle of the inhabitants of this Roman city, as well as the destruction caused by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
Even for those who have visited Pompeii before, having a specialist archaeological guide provides an in depth experience and is very revealing.
We enjoy a final lunch together in Pompeii, having our last chance to enjoy regional cuisine, before driving a short distance to Napoli Centrale, the central train station in Naples.
We finish the tour here by 4pm.
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch (3 course lunch including wine)
Amalfi Coast Tour Dates 2023:
22 - 27 May
5 - 10 June
17 - 22 July
8 - 13 September
16 - 21 September
Tour Price: €2500
* Price listed is based on twin share.
* Single supplement of €350 for solo travellers
Tour Price Includes:
- Accommodation (the 4 star Residence Hotel in Amalfi, with a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ rating of 4.5 / 5 by Tripadvisor)
- Meals as listed in the itinerary: each day breakfast, plus a 3-4 course lunch or dinner each day with wine included
- All costs/entry fees for activities listed in the itinerary are included
- All transport during the tour is included. Travel is in our van/minibus with a professional driver
- 'Italy With Pleasure' provides a tour manager for the duration of the trip on hand to provide any support that you need