Beyond Vesuvius

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Beyond Vesuvius

<p>Explore one of the most archaeologically and historically dense areas in the world – the sultry city and expansive bay of Naples. Look at the development of the area over four millennia and at the


Explore one of the most archaeologically and historically dense areas in the world – the sultry city and expansive bay of Naples. Look at the development of the area over four millennia and at the way human culture in the region was shaped by its dynamic volcanic environment and proximity to the sea. The mazes of ancient tunnels and catacombs throughout the region, its spectacular natural beauty and mysterious, at times spine chilling, ancient sites will be explored along with some of the features which have continued to make Napoli so alluring in more recent and modern eras. This is the perfect preparation for your next trip to this exceptional part of Italy.


  • Beard, Mary, 2008, Pompeii: The life of a Roman town, London
  • Birmingham, B., 2009, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Eyewitness Travel Guides, New York
  • Blanchard, P., 2007, Blue Guide: Southern Italy, London
  • Brennan, B.,2011, Herculaneum: A Sourcebook, Sydney
  • Cooley, A.E. and Cooley, M.G.L., 2004, Pompeii: A Sourcebook, New York
  • Descoeudres, J-P, ed., 2006, Pompeii Revisited, Sydney
  • Lancaster, J., 2005, In the Shadow of Vesuvius: A Cultural History of Naples, New York
  • Mattusch, C.C., Ed, 2013, Rediscovering the Ancient World on the Bay of Naples 1710-1890, Yale
  • Wallace-Hadrill, A., 2011, Herculaneum: Past and Future, Princeton


  • Week 1: A brief geology and geography of the Bay of Naples and a look at it from the Bronze Age, the era of Greek colonisation, its interaction with the Samnite, Oscan and Etruscans and the inevitable arrival of the Romans. This week also includes a brief history of the excavations at Pompeii from the 19th to the mid 20th centuries.
  • Week 2: Pompeii and Herculaneum – no matter how many courses you may have done before, there are always new and unusual aspects to intrigue and amaze the visitor. This week hopes to present a guide to making the most of them.
  • Week 3: Day trips to the south of Naples – the beautiful villas at Stabiae and Oplontis present the visitor with some of the most stunning frescoes and mosaics in Roman architecture. We then continue south to the extraordinary temple complex and archaeological museum at Paestum.
  • Week 4: Day trips to the north of Naples – Crypta Neapolitana, Virgil’s Tomb, Posillipo and the 700m long Grotto Seiano. Turning north-west we will arrive at the Campi Flegrei (Solfatara – the tip of the Neapolitan super volcano!), the international harbour of Pozzuoli, the home of the rich and famous at Baia, the great naval port of Misenum and the Piscina Mirabile, and the Sibyl’s Cave at Cumae.
  • Week 5: We travel the coast north of the Bay to the mysterious grotto of Tiberius at Sperlonga. We then set sail for Ischia and Capri –luscious lands of sun seekers, jet-setters, musicians and artists across the ages from Tiberius to Noel Coward! We head inland to the Royal Palace of Caserta – built for the Bourbon Kings of Naples (Italy’s answer to Versailles!) and finally a quick trip to see the second largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire at Capua.
  • Week 6: Bella Napoli! Our final week looks exclusively at this vibrant, magnificent city – exploring some of the many tunnels under the city such as Napoli Sotteranea, the macabre catacombs of San Gaudioso and those of San Gennaro. We will wander the 18th century majolica cloister and Roman archaeological site of the Santa Chiara monastery and view the Baroque masterworks in the Cappella Sansevero. This orientation to the city will include a look at its transport, castles, galleries and its magnificent archaeological museum.

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  1. Appreciate the area of the Bay of Naples and surrounding region as a whole – and more fully comprehend the place of Pompeii and Herculaneum within this broader context.
  2. Have a good understanding of the dynamic geology which formed the region and the societies within it.
  3. Enjoy a thorough knowledge of the ancient societies and archaeology of the Bay and how they interacted with other regions
  4. Gain appreciation of the variety and beauty of the natural environment and material culture of the cities of the Bay.
  5. Examine the area through ancient artefacts, texts and the history of the actual excavations.