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Explore Italy: Pompeii, Capri & the Amalfi Coast

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
8 days From $3,465 $3,365 per person
4.5 stars(10 reviews)

Take indulgence and beauty to the next level on this independent rail vacation that showcases centuries of history in Rome and the colorful tones of the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy.

Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary
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Offer Ends June 26th: Save $100 per person on Independent Europe Vacations. Prices as marked online.

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2024 Tour code: ST-RACS-24

About the tour

Let ocean views and cities that span the ages capture your heart in beautiful Italy. It is no secret this country is brimming with fantastic offerings, from its gastronomy to its scenery and rich culture, and this independent expedition is your chance to immerse yourself in it all. Throughout the journey, an enticing mixture of private and small-group touring allows you to capture the essence of each destination. Pair this with private transfers and four-star hotel accommodations to create a vacation that is just as comfortable as it is memorable. Begin your exploration in Italy's capital, Rome, surrounded by thousands of years of history. Visual reminders of the past lurk everywhere, from ancient architecture to ruined structures. Enjoy guided city touring and an excursion to Vatican City, and a chance to tour the Colosseum and the Roman Forum during your first three days of the trip. Next, it's off to the Amalfi Coast by train. Your home base is Sorrento, where grand adventures lie ahead as you embark on guided touring in Pompeii, taste wine in Sorrento's town center, drive along the Amalfi Coast, and sail to the island of Capri. Each excursion includes ample time to make the most of each destination, including free time in several of the small towns that dot the cliffs on the coast and hours to explore the two central regions of Capri. You also have a full day at leisure to sightsee independently in the Sorrento region and acclimate yourself to the leisurely pace of life that one can only find in coastal Italy. This trip is a dream come true.


What’s included


Day 1 - Arrive in Rome

Centuries of history and profound culture culminate in Italy's capital city, Rome. As you arrive in this timeless city today, enjoy an included private transfer to your centrally located four-star hotel. Settle into your new surroundings ahead of this evening's panoramic tour of Rome. On this excursion, join a small group in exploring the Eternal City's most famous sites while they are illuminated in the soft glow of city lights. Rome's piazzas, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon Square are some highlights along the route. The tour concludes with an incredible view over Rome from Gianicolo Hill. The remainder of the evening is at leisure to enjoy the local eateries and nightlife. Overnight Rome.

Day 2 - Vatican City

Take a leisurely morning to soak in Rome's offerings. You may wish to start the day with a cappuccino at one of the sidewalk cafés or revisit the piazzas of last night to soak in the vibrancy that daylight brings. As you wander, admire the contrast between ancient and contemporary architecture and lose yourself in centuries of history. Perhaps explore the shops and eateries - including gelaterias - that line the cobbled streets of Centro Storico or visit hotspots like the Pantheon.

This afternoon, return to your hotel to join a guide in touring Vatican City. First, enjoy skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums, where exhibits like the Gallery of Tapestries and the Gallery of Geological Maps will leave a lasting impression. The excursion also includes admission to the Sistine Chapel to see the fantastic frescoes that grace the ceilings and walls, including "The Last Judgement" by Michelangelo, which adorns the altar wall, and "The Creation of Adam." Consider sampling a local dish this evening, such as cacio e pepe or Roman carbonara. Overnight Rome.

  • Breakfast
Day 3 – Optional Roman Forum and Colosseum Tour/Travel to Sorrento

This morning is at leisure to enjoy Rome as you wish. Consider taking an optional private walking tour to two of Rome's most iconic sites: the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. These structures - or what remains of them - call to the heyday of the Romans and offer insight as to what life was like thousands of years ago. Follow in the footsteps of gladiators and spectators alike as you explore the Colosseum alongside a guide. The site remains the largest standing amphitheater globally, despite its age. Continue to the Roman Forum and see the fascinating ruins of downtown Ancient Rome. Meander between buildings, including the Temple of Julius Caesar and the Roman Senate House.

This afternoon, watch Italy's beauty unfold before your eyes as you transfer south by train. A complimentary private transfer from your hotel to the station is included, and your time on the train is decidedly comfortable, thanks to your first-class ticket. The route from Rome to Naples takes just over an hour to complete, and on arrival, a private car takes you to Sorrento, situated on the Gulf of Naples. Once you have checked into your hotel, the remainder of your afternoon is free to explore this coastal destination. Overnight Sorrento.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Pompeii & Wine Tasting

Begin your day surrounded by some of the most well-preserved scenes of ancient life in the world in Pompeii. A driver takes you from your hotel in Sorrento to Pompeii, and on arrival, meet a local guide for an adventure unlike any other. Mount Vesuvius's eruption in 79 AD covered the then-thriving city in a plume of volcanic ash and quickly extinguished life as it was known. It was not until the mid-1700s that its ruins were discovered, and archeologists began to unfurl its tale. Come along for the journey today, walking between important buildings like the Basilica and the Forum and gazing upon homes, stores, and thermal baths, among other sites. You have half a day here to explore. Your excursion continues to a local winery located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. You will have the opportunity to visit the vineyard, taste four different varieties of wine, and savor a lunch of local dishes. Overnight Sorrento. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5 - Amalfi Coast

Colorful towns and crystalline, cyan-hued waters guide the way along the Amalfi Coast today. Set out this morning for a drive along this breathtaking seaboard with an itinerary highlighting several significant destinations along the coast. First up: Positano. This beach town is perched up high on the cliffside and offers incredible views over the rocky shore and the beautiful ocean that abuts it. Take an hour here at leisure to admire the views and wander the steep, narrow streets. The pastel buildings stacked on top of one another add another layer of intrigue to the vistas. Of course, you can also visit one of the local beaches before the journey presses forth to Amalfi, the namesake for the coast itself. Join the small group walking through town to St. Andrew's Cathedral, situated atop a grand staircase in the city's center. The most notable feature of its 9th-century construction is the mosaic tiles on its façade. Continue walking through town to one of the local restaurants in Amalfi for a group lunch, and then the route commences once more, taking you to the final stop of the excursion, Ravello. This town is a lesser-known gem on the Amalfi Coast yet has been a haven for artists, composers, and authors for ages. Ravello is perched high up on the cliffs, approximately 1,200 feet above the water, and tends to avoid the crowds that come with other stops on the route. Enjoy plenty of time here to wander at leisure, soaking in the waterside scenery and the creative atmosphere cultivated here. You are returned to Sorrento later this afternoon. Overnight Sorrento. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 – Sorrento at Leisure

Whether you crave adventure and excitement or relaxation, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy Sorrento during your free day today. With its idyllic position on the Sorrentine Peninsula, the town offers easy access to Italy's coastal jewels while still providing ages of history to uncover within its bounds. Enjoy some gelato with a view, or sip some locally produced limoncello in one of the many bars or eateries. If it is the water you seek, you could stroll down to the harbor from Piazza Tasso or visit Marina Grande, a charming fishing village right on the water in Sorrento.

You may also wish to embark on an optional half-day trip to Herculaneum. Headed by a local guide, explore another town lost to Mount Vesuvius when it erupted nearly 2,000 years ago. There are several critical differences between Herculaneum and Pompeii, such as Pompeii was more of a commercial center, and Herculaneum featured more high-end residential properties. Another difference comes in the speed at which the towns were covered in volcanic ash. Herculaneum was encased quickly after the eruption, allowing even more excellent preservation of its buildings. Some structures still have the second floors, whereas others showcase the original wooden balconies. Overnight Sorrento.

  • Breakfast
Day 7 - Capri

Savor incredible views on today's small group excursion to the island of Capri. A transfer is included from your hotel to Sorrento's harbor, and on arrival, switch modes of transportation and join a fast boat to cruise out to Capri. Stunning scenes of the Mediterranean surround as the boat navigates through the waves to the harbor. After docking, board another boat for your first look at this island's magnificent offerings at the Blue Grotto. This sea cave gets its name from its unique, glowing blue coloration that is achieved as sunlight enters through an underwater cavity. From here, sail back to the harbor to begin your inland explorations aboard a minibus. The bus winds its way up the island's narrow roads to Anacapri, which sits at its highest point. Countryside forms the backdrop for this lush destination, and picturesque views over the island and ocean abound everywhere you look. You are free to wander through Anacapri, taking in its unique buildings and artisan atmosphere with each step. Pop into some of the boutiques or workshops for handmade wares and unique souvenirs. There are plenty of hiking trails from which to enjoy the panoramas and a chairlift that climbs to the summit of Monte Solaro. You have time to lunch in one of the local restaurants ahead of transferring to the town of Capri for another period of leisure to sightsee independently. This afternoon, return to Sorrento by boat and car with the remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight Sorrento.

*Please note entry to Blue Grotto is weather dependent. If not possible, an alternative excursion on Capri will be arranged. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8 – Return Home

Your Italian vacation concludes this morning upon check-out from the hotel. Private transfers are available from Sorrento to Naples International Airport for your convenience. 

*Speak to your rail specialist if you'd prefer to fly out of Rome. Based on flight times, this may require an additional hotel night in Rome.

**If transfer time required is before 6:00am, a supplement may be applicable.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Enhance Your Holiday

Explore More - Add optional excursions in Rome and Sorrento to further enhance your visit. Consider a small group tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum, an excursion to Herculaneum, or a cooking class in Sorrento.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 10 reviews

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  5. 1 star


5 stars

Submitted 10 Nov 2023

This was an awesome trip! We enjoyed having the scheduled tours/drivers, but we also enjoyed having time alone to relax or explore on our own. We couldn't ask for a better vacation. I would definitely sign up for another Vacation By Rail tour.

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5 stars

Submitted 02 Nov 2023

This was a wonderful trip. We did add a few days before and one after as we were worried about travel connections. As a result, we built an extra full schedule and had an extra day to rest and pack before our return. We recommend adding days as Rome, in particular, has so much history and many cultural and religious pilgrimage sites. Our travel agent, Bridget A., helped tremendously. We had one kink with the schedule that needed to be corrected. She fixed it, and all went smoothly. Every Sireon SRL (the local travel service) experience was top notch. The chauffeurs were safe and friendly. It was a trip of a lifetime.

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Robyn Campbell

5 stars

Submitted 15 Sep 2023

It was fantastic, everyday was a new adventure. Our driver's and guides were professional and knowledgeable! Dependable and on time as scheduled!

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4 stars

Submitted 27 Jul 2023

Hotels and drivers were wonderful! I would have liked more detail of the excursions, for example, what to bring and how much time in a car versus how much time walking. Some excursions, while still nice, were not what we were expecting. Also, the excursion to The Vatican was disappointing. Our guide spent so much time talking about the model of the Vatican and the posters of the Sistine Chapel that by the time we got to the Sistine Chapel, we had almost no time. I realize the excursions are outsourced, but perhaps you can pass that along. The emergency number was extremely helpful when our train in Rome was delayed!

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C. Murphy

4 stars

Submitted 04 Jul 2023

Nice to have private transportation from airport to hotel and vice versa. The tour guides for events were nice and knowledgeable.

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5 stars

Submitted 04 Jun 2023

This trip was absolutely beautiful and so much fun! From the very start we were assigned a contact person at Vacations by Rail who was with us all the way through our trip and once we got home. It was really nice to have a real person to communicate with who follows your whole experience. We booked this as our belated honeymoon. The tours were all wonderful and the tour guides were some of the nicest people we have ever met! The hotel accommodations were perfect from location to service to food. We appreciated the pace of the tours so that we could also take time to do our own excursions. Thank you Vacations by Rail! We will definitely be using your services again.

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