Each year, the Travel Office receives numerous calls in April and May from members planning a trip to Italy’s sensationally scenic Amalfi Coast. Unfortunately, many of the Harper-recommended hotels will be already sold out for the most desirable dates.
To avoid disappointment this spring, start planning for the summer now, while the resorts of the Amalfi Coast can still offer availability during the choice months of June, July and September.
Start with a few days in Rome before diving into the delights of Italy’s most spectacular stretch of coastline:
Day 1: Arrive in Rome and check into the Hotel de Russie, the Hassler Roma, The Inn at the Roman Forum or the Hotel Eden, according to your preference. Start exploring Rome, visiting the Spanish Steps and the fashionable Tridente neighborhood.
Day 2: See some of the best of ancient Rome, including the Colosseum, the Forum and the Capitoline Museums. A guide can really bring the bloody history of the Colosseum and the confusing ruins of the Forum to vivid life.
Day 3: Wander the ancient heart of the city, viewing the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona and the Campo di Fiori neighborhood. If kids are in tow, we can arrange a fun pizza-making class in a local pizzeria. In the afternoon, enjoy the remarkable art treasures in the Borghese Gallery.
Day 4: Devote today to ecclesiastical Rome and explore the mysteries of the Vatican. We can arrange a reserved entry to the museums and Sistine Chapel, essential for avoiding the ungodly lines.
Day 5: Depart Rome with a driver (or rental car, if you’re brave), and head south to the Amalfi Coast. Start in the heart of the coast itself, staying at Le Sirenuse, Il San Pietro or the Santa Caterina.
Day 6: Spend the day meandering the vertiginous lanes of Positano and Amalfi. A tour of a limoncello distillery can be a refreshing way to spend part of an afternoon.
Day 7: Make an excursion to nearby Pompeii, arguably the most enthralling ancient Roman ruins. Break for lunch in the nearby Michelin-starred Il Principe.
Day 8: Head by ferry or private motor launch to Capri, an island renowned for its beauty since Roman times. It’s possible to visit on a day trip, but it’s much more fun to stay overnight. Settle into J.K. Place Capri.
Day 9: Shop the charming boutiques in the town of Capri, take a skiff into the famed Blue Grotto and walk past elegant estates and lemon trees to Villa Jovis, the dramatic ruins of the home of Emperor Tiberius.
Day 10: Head up to the commune of Anacapri, a perfectly tranquil contrast to chic Capri. A chairlift will whisk you to the top of Mount Solaro for unparalleled views of the island.
Day 11: Return to the mainland and take residence in the cliff-top aerie of Ravello, staying either in the Hotel Caruso or the Palazzo Sasso. Take the afternoon to enjoy the gardens of the Villa Rufolo and the Villa Cimbrone.
Day 12: Make a day trip to evocative Paestum, where three impressively preserved Greek temples stand in a meadow (formerly a city), still surrounded by ancient defensive walls. Alternatively, relax in Ravello.
Day 13: Return to Rome, but bypass the city in favor of the coast. Check into La Posta Vecchia, a remarkable Renaissance-era villa restored by J. Paul Getty.
Day 14: Visit the haunting pre-Roman necropolis of nearby Cerveteri, where the tombs resemble Etruscan homes.
Day 15: Make your way back to Rome’s airport and depart on your flight home.