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New Year's in Sorrento

Program No. 22188RJ
Experience New Year’s in Sorrento, a picturesque town on the gorgeous southern coastline of Italy. Celebrate the holidays as you learn Italian history and culture from local experts.

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DATES & starting prices
Dec 27 - Jan 4, 2025
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Dec 28 - Jan 5, 2025
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DATES & starting prices
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Dec 27 - Jan 4, 2025
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Dec 28 - Jan 5, 2025
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At a Glance

In the charming town of Sorrento, ring in the New Year the Italian way with delectable cuisine, lively company, and gorgeous views of the Mediterranean. Nestled on the scenic cliffs of Italy’s southern coastline and a stone’s throw away from historic sites like Pompeii, Sorrento is the perfect place to celebrate the holidays and experience authentic Italian culture. Travel down the storied Amalfi Coast to discover quaint seaside villages and learn from local experts about Italian history and culture at a host of top-notch museums. Enjoy Italy as you celebrate the holidays in one of the country's most beautiful and fascinating regions!
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to four miles a day. Extended standing during site visits with limited or no public seating. Uneven terrain, limited public handrails, unavoidable stairs, marble and terracotta flooring, cobblestones, steep inclines, loose gravel, dirt paths. Elevator use is limited or restricted in historic sites. Expect crowded conditions in pedestrian centers and museums. Dress accordingly for visits to open-air archeological parks. Program-related travel and transfers will be via bus, boat, convertible, and funicular. Sheltered waiting areas may not be available at docks.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover the incredible remains and ancient artifacts of Pompeii and Herculaneum on expert-led excursions.
  • Ring in the New Year Sorrento style, with delicious Italian food, good friends and an evening concert.
  • Drive down the scenic Amalfi Coast and enjoy spectacular views from the Isle of Capri, with an expert to teach you about local culture and history.

General Notes

Give us a call to combine this learning adventure with, "Christmas in Assisi" (#19220) for even more learning in Italy! We'll even transfer you for free between locations.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Michela Porcelli
Michela Porcelli was awarded an advanced degree in linguistic anthropology from the University of Naples. Fluent in English, Swedish, Spanish and French, Michela studied in the U.S. at the University of California Santa Barbara. Currently, she lives in Naples where she is involved in several research projects in linguistics at the university there.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Michela Porcelli
Michela Porcelli View biography
Michela Porcelli was awarded an advanced degree in linguistic anthropology from the University of Naples. Fluent in English, Swedish, Spanish and French, Michela studied in the U.S. at the University of California Santa Barbara. Currently, she lives in Naples where she is involved in several research projects in linguistics at the university there.
Profile Image of Vincenzo Coppola
Vincenzo Coppola View biography
Vincenzo Coppola is an ethnomusicologist and licensed guide for the Amalfi Coast area. He has a passion for music in the Neapolitan tradition. A lecturer at Naples University and Conservatory of Music, his seminars include Opera and Oriental Traits in Neapolitan popular music and the Japanese Theater of Noh.
Profile Image of Claudio Mollo
Claudio Mollo View biography
Claudio Mollo enjoys traveling and has lived in Italy as well as other countries and continents. In fact, he speaks five languages. A licensed guide, his area of expertise is history and archaeology specializing in the Campania Region comprising Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula, and Amalfi Coast. Claudio has been leading groups in southern Italy for Trinity College cultural programs including Road Scholar for 25 years and always enjoys showcasing his native region.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook
by Lonely Planet
A handy, palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
The Italians
by John Hooper
From Amazon: A vivid and surprising portrait of the Italian people from an admired foreign correspondent.
Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum
by Paul Roberts
Drawing on sharp, full-color photographs of more than 200 objects excavated from Pompeii and Herculaneum, Roberts, a curator at the British Museum, discusses what life was like in the ancient cities. He covers everything from birth certificates to the prevalence of bakeries and taverns.
Rediscovering the Ancient World in the Bay of Naples, 1710-1890
by Carol C. Mattusch
This extensively illustrated volume details various reactions to the early excavations of the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and their international influence in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Italian Folktales
by Selected and retold by Italo Calvino
This collection by one of Italy’s most famous writers is a magic and classical tome to put anyone in the mood for visiting this fascinating and continually surprising country.
Herculaneum: Italy's Buried Treasures
by Joseph Jay Deiss
An artful and wonderfully written description of the daily life of the Romans at the time of the destruction of Herculaneum.
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
by Beppe Severgnini
From Amazon: You won’t need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini’s fellow Italians. In fact, Beppe would prefer if you left behind the baggage his crafty and elegant countrymen have smuggled into your subconscious. To get to his Italia, you’ll need to forget about your idealized notions of Italy. Although La Bella Figura will take you to legendary cities and scenic regions, your real destinations are the places where Italians are at their best, worst, and most authentic: the highway, the airport, and the small town.
In the Shadow of Vesuvius
by Jordan Lancaster
Amazon Books: "a quick look over the history, art and culture of the Bay of Naples area."
The Ancient Shore
by Shirley Hazzard
Hazzard's lyrical collection of essays on the history, beauty, complexities and contradictions of Naples. Includes a celebrated New Yorker essay by Francis Steegmuller.
Pompeii, The Day a City Died
by Robert Etienne
This indispensable pocket guide illustrates daily life in the city as revealed by its evocative frescoes, mosaics and treasures.
Campania Basilicata Map
by Touring Club Italiano
A colorful, durable map of Campania, including Naples and the Amalfi Coast.
The Fires of Vesuvius
by Mary Beard
Amazon Books: "Pompeii is the most famous archaeological site in the world, visited by more than two million people each year. Here, acclaimed historian Beard explores what kind of town it was, and what it can reveal about ordinary life there."
by Gillian Darley
Darley unveils human responses to Mount Vesuvius, a place both feared and celebrated, from a cast of characters as far-flung as Pliny the Younger and David Hockney. This entry in Harvard University Press's excellent Wonders of the World series is a perfect introduction for travelers to Pompeii and Herculaneum.
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9 days
8 nights
18 meals
7 B 6 L 5 D
In Transit to Program
In Flight
Arrive Sorrento, Check-in, Welcome Reception & Dinner
Hotel Michelangelo

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 2:00 p.m. Walking about 1 mile; urban terrain.

Lunch: In the hotel restaurant.

Afternoon: After checking in to the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our first group activity. We will meet in the lobby at 4:15 p.m. with a local expert for a short neighborhood walk to see the location of banks, pharmacies, and grocery stores. We’ll then circle back to the hotel for a "Welcome to Sorrento" reception where you will meet our Group Leader and fellow Road Scholars.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Orientation, Explore Sorrento, Free Time, Roman Archaeology
Hotel Michelangelo

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; uneven terrain, cobblestone pavement, some steps and inclines.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will learn from the Group Leader and a series of local experts who will give lectures and lead field trips. Program-related transportation will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. After a short break, we’ll set out with our Group Leader on a walking field trip to explore more of Sorrento. Among the highlights will be the Marina Grande, the characteristic old port where it’s not uncommon to see fishermen bringing in the catch of the day or repairing their nets. Our walk will circle back to the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.

Afternoon: We will gather in the hotel meeting room where a local art historian will give us a presentation on Roman art and architecture in preparation for our field trips to Pompeii and Herculaneum. After the lecture, the remainder of the afternoon is free for independent exploration.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

Pompeii, Italy Today
Hotel Michelangelo

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 16 miles, approximately 1.5 hours total riding time. Walking up to 4 miles, approximately 4 hours; uneven cobblestone and dirt paths, steps, inclines, slippery when wet. Except at entrance/exit, no benches or other places to sit in the archaeological park.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach in front of the hotel and ride to Pompeii for an expert-led exploration of this wonder from the ancient world. Pompeii was a vibrant city when Mount Vesuvius erupted with such disastrous consequences on August 24, 79 CE. It was not rediscovered until the late 16th century. The first systematic excavations began in 1738 and have continued to the present day. The archaeological site covers more than 163 acres (66 hectares), and about 121 acres (49 hectares) have been excavated. We’ll explore the streets of the city frozen in time. We’ll walk into the amphitheater, see where gladiators trained, walk down Via Abbondanza, the main street, and observe 1st-century political graffiti. When Mount Vesuvius erupted, the commercial town was covered in ash, while the resort town of Herculaneum was engulfed by mudflows. All remained hidden until excavations began. Extensive areas of these ancient towns were gradually brought back to light. As the UNESCO World Heritage inscription states, they “provide a complete and vivid picture of society and daily life at a specific moment in the past that is without parallel anywhere in the world.”

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll reboard our motorcoach and return to the hotel. Later in the afternoon, we’ll gather in the hotel meeting room for a presentation by a local expert on key issues facing Italy today followed by Q&A. We’ll learn about the country’s healthcare system, education, religion, and women’s issues. We’ll also hear about the ways in which Italy continues to undergo rapid economic and societal change.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

Capri, Villa of San Michele
Hotel Michelangelo

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Getting on/off ferry to island of Capri, boat ride 1 hour total. Funicular to town of Capri, taxis to town of Anacapri. Walking up to 3 miles; uneven terrain, cobblestones, inclines.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll take a short motorcoach ride to the Sorrento marina, then board a large boat to the island of Capri for a full day on the Mediterranean’s most lush island while roaming intricate cobblestone lanes and chic neighborhoods. From the Capri marina, we’ll ride the funicular, or cable railway up to the town of Capri, where we’ll walk to the scenic and fragrant Cesare Augusto Gardens. We’ll also have some time for independent exploration. You might like to stroll along the scenic Via Tragara to the Belvedere for breathtaking views of the Faraglioni rock formations, or savor a gelato or beverage at a café. We’ll rendezvous in the main square of Capri town at an announced time. Weather permitting, we’ll enjoy the scenic ride to Anacapri, the village at the summit of the island, in convertible taxis with the top down.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Our local expert will lead us on a walk to the Villa of San Michele, home of the Swedish physician Axel Munthe, who visited Capri in 1885 and built his dream house “open to the sun, to the wind, and the voice of the sea, just like a Greek temple, and light everywhere.” We’ll explore the villa and terraced gardens. Next, we’ll hop into convertible taxis and ride down to the marina. We’ll reboard the boat that will return to Sorrento by late afternoon and ride back to the hotel by motorcoach. Before our special dinner, we walk to the Piazza Tasso in Sorrento to enjoy live folk music and holiday lights in the heart of town.

Dinner: At the hotel, a special New Year’s Eve dinner and celebration.

Evening: At leisure. Join the locals as they celebrate the New Year in the main square of Sorrento or watch the fireworks from the roof top patio at the hotel.

Tarsia Museum of Marquetry, Free Time, Music Concert
Hotel Michelangelo

Activity note: Walking 2 miles; uneven stone pavement, some inclines, stairs in museum to reach upper level. Walking and other free time activities according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll set out on a walking field trip to the Tarsia Museum that displays the materials, tools, and traditional motifs used by master craftsmen of marquetry, or inlaid wood design. To ensure continuity for the decorative art tradition the museum is also a workshop to teach the craft to local youth.

Lunch: At the hotel restaurant we will enjoy our New Year's Day lunch.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In the late afternoon, we will walk to a local church for a late afternoon concert of chamber music.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

Positano, Amalfi
Hotel Michelangelo

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving 40 miles, approximately 2 hours riding time. Getting on/off a boat, riding under 1 hour. In the event of bad weather that prevents the boat from leaving Positano for Amalfi, we will walk up the hill along town sidewalks to the parking lot and board our motorcoach to Amalfi. Walking up to 3 miles; uneven terrain, steps, inclines.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will set out by motorcoach for a learning adventure that will begin on the Amalfi Coast Drive: the scenic, narrow, winding road cut into the steep cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea. En route, we will stop at the elegant seaside town of Positano, with its characteristic white and pastel colored houses that cling in tiers to the rock face. In Positano, we will board a boat bound for Amalfi from where we can fully appreciate the cascading houses and luscious gardens on the mountain face.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: A local expert will lead our exploration of Amalfi, including sites such as Piazza del Duomo, the main square, and more. We’ll then have some time on our own to explore Amalfi or visit the interior of the 13th-century cathedral of Sant’Andrea. Our field trip will then continue to Ravello, where we will take in the stunning views of the Amalfi Coast from the Villa Rufolo. We will ride back to Sorrento after our field trip.

Dinner: On your own to sample the local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

Herculaneum, Countryside Cooking Demo
Hotel Michelangelo

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; total driving 55 miles, about 2 hours riding time. Walking up to 3 miles; uneven cobblestone and gravel paths in archaeological park, inclines, few places to sit and rest. Note: Ride out to the farm restaurant is 50 minutes via a scenic winding road; ride back is direct, about 10 minutes. Walking about 50 feet, uneven terrain, steps, inclines from motorcoach drop-off point to farm restaurant.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and ride to Herculaneum. Unlike Pompeii that was buried in ash in 79 CE, this upscale resort town was destroyed by mudflows. According to legend, Herculaneum was founded by and named for Hercules in 1243 BCE. This once upscale resort town was enveloped along with Pompeii in 79 CE by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. It was rediscovered in 1707 when a well was being dug, but excavations did not ensue until 1738. Because of differences in the kind and rate of volcanic damage, the buildings here were better preserved than those in Pompeii. One of the most significant is the so-called Villa of the Papyri where some 1,800 carbonized scrolls were found; the excavated Villa of the Papyri was the inspiration for the Getty Museum in Malibu, California. We’ll ride back to the hotel after our field trip.

Lunch: On your own to have what you like.

Afternoon: We’ll board a motorcoach and set out on a panoramic ride through the Sorrento countryside to a working farm. Our hosts will welcome us with a drink and appetizers as we observe a demonstration of mozzarella cheese forming from a bowl of fresh milk and rennet. We’ll learn the process of making olive oil and wine, then tie on an apron and assist the cook in preparation of our farm-to-table dinner.

Dinner: At the agriturismo. Share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s “Getting There” information regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel depending on departure time. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.