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Study Holidays

Study Week in Campania: 20–27 March 2013

Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri and Paestum


Pompeii, the Roman city submerged under volcanic ash during two fateful days in 79 AD, was discovered by accident in 1748. Since then it has occupied the imagination and curiosity of anyone with an interest in the classical past. The lesser known city of Herculaneum, lost in the same volcanic blast, was only discovered in 1981, and has therefore been more carefully excavated. On this study tour we will visit both these sites, which are among the most famous and fascinating archaeological remains in the world. Many of the unique and remarkable objects found in both cities are in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in nearby Naples, where we will also spend a day.


Other excursions will be by boat to Capri to see the imperial villa of Tiberius, and by coach to Paestum, originally Greek Poseidonia. Here the spectacular rocky coastline gives way to fertile countryside, the setting for some atmospheric relics of the Greek colonisation of southern Italy, three magnificently preserved Doric temples dating from the sixth century BC. The town also boasts an excellent national museum. This area is the home of the true mozzarella, the soft cheese made from the milk of water buffalo.


Our centre for this wide-ranging holiday will be a four-star historic hotel perched on cliffs overlooking the sea in central Sorrento; the dining room has views towards the Bay of Naples and Capri. From our base it is a short walk to the Circumvesuviana railway, a local line that runs between Sorrento and Naples, with convenient stops at Pompeii and Herculaneum.


Sorrento is a lively and picturesque resort, packed with cafes and fashionable shops. This small town has been a favourite stopping place for British travellers since the Grand Tour. Writers who have stayed here include Byron, Keats and Walter Scott, as well as Goethe, Ibsen and Gorky. It is famous for its lemon groves and for the local lemon-based liqueur, limoncello.


Lecturer for this study week will be Dr Stephen P. Kershaw, a frequent tutor for the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education as well as other organisations; he is an archaeologist, classics teacher and jazz musician.  Martin Gray will be the tour organiser. For further information and guideline prices, please see overleaf.


Rough terrain

Would-be participants on this visit to Campania should bear in mind the nature of the archaeological sites we will visit on this tour; some excursions will involve a lot of walking, and some of it over steep and stony paths.


Guideline prices

  Per person, single use of double room: £1,790

  Per person, sharing a double room: £1,525


These prices do not include the cost of your flight, but cover the following:


seven nights bed and breakfast in a four-star hotel in Sorrento;

seven dinners in the hotel;

lectures on the archaeological sites we will visit ;

entrance fees to sites on the itinerary;

train travel from Sorrento to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples;

travel by coach to Paestum;

boat trip to Capri;

coach transfers between Naples airport and the hotel;

services of archaeology tutor; services of tour organiser.


Travel to Italy

When enough people have signed up for the study week, a flight to Naples will be chosen and tickets can then be bought from a designated travel agent or over the web. At the time of writing the pricing policy of most airlines is so volatile as to make predictions of the cost of these flights impossible.