as Mount Olympus,
The Road to Delphi, is a quest for the
origins of sacred or eminent landscapes.
We will visit on the
one hand the Greek origins of the Region, the triangle between the western islands of
Capri and Ischia (ancient Pithecusa where the Greeks first arrived in
Southern Italy), Cumae and Baia north of Naples (ancient Nea Polis,
'the New City' in Greek), and Paestum (or
Posidonia, the old city of Poseidon, the Greek god of the Sea), South of Naples.
We will visit on the other hand, Roman
Naples, which has survived two thousand years of drama, some of which is still
visible above ground and some below, in Subterranean Naples. But, the
most distinctive landmark, towering over the landscape, and amongst all
these sites, is Vesuvius. It brought wonderful fertility, as most other
Volcanoes, and mayhem all the same. To have lived in Pompeii must have been,
as it is still the case in Naples, Pozzuoli and a number of nearby towns, to live in
the Volcano's divine shadow.
Many raised their
hands to the gods, and even more believed that there were no gods any
longer and that this was one last unending night for the world.
(Pliny, Letters, 6.20)
In a dramatic letter by
Pliny the Younger, recounting the events of the eruption of the Vesuvius
in 69 A.D. to the historian Tacitus, we find the lamentations of women,
the shrieks and cries of men. During this horrendous ordeal, in the
heart of darkness, men suddenly feared that the Gods had abandoned their
beautiful land of Campania, or worse, that they did not exist. But the
people did not reject their pantheistic beliefs, they did not burn or
destroy their temples. Life and the gods prevailed, for a time.
is not a tour for specialists,
but an informed tour for curious
Pompeii is more than a dream excavation, it is a curse: it seems to say
to people 'Pompeii is what archaeologists try to recreate everywhere'.
Reality is different: 9 times out of 10, an excavation will only bring
to light what ancient people abandoned or discarded. Most precious
objects were kept, precious metals were molten and re-used. So what is
Pompeii? It is what never happens, an anti-archaeological model for all
generations to come. Why? Because life is not still, it is in perpetual
For most people
however, Pompeii has a thousand facets, so much information to offer in
order to recreate Roman daily life, its gods and beliefs. We feel, while
walking in Pompeii's streets that we are walking in streets, not ruins.
For many, Cumae, is still where we hope to meet the ancient Sibyl, this
regional oracle revered by the Romans and other people before them in
& Booking form
Per person sharing a twin room
12 participants max.
The tour includes:
- 7 days, 3* Hotel in central
Naples. On a B&B basis.
- Return Flights from London to Naples
- All other transportation in luxury coach
- 2 special lunches + 1 special dinner
- All entrance fees
- An introductory lecture to the sacred landscape of Magna Graecia at the
Lecturer: Dr. A. G. Mitchell
from the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford