Written by Missy Johnston
Ostia Temple Ruins
Join your yacht at noon in Ostia, a resort beach town 15 minutes away by taxi from Rome’s Fuimicino Airport. Settle in before departing for Ponza. Once an excursion destination for monks and recluses, a resort island for the Romans, a strategic base for Corsarian soldiers, today Ponza is a quiet fishing island. Dinner can be enjoyed under the stars on the top deck or at one of the many little tavernas ringing the harbor in the town of Ponza offering fresh seafood. Or perhaps enjoy a cocktail ashore people watching before dinner or coffee ashore after dinner. Overnight on anchor.
Port of Ponza
Enjoy breakfast before wandering into town to explore this lovely little fishing village. Be sure to visit the Roman Tunnel, built by the Romans, to connect the town of Ponza to Luna Bay. If wanted you can walk through the Roman Tunnel, while your yacht steams around to Luna Bay to send a tender ashore to pick you up. This is a great bay in which to enjoy a swim and fun in the sun. Steam up the coast of Ponza stopping to explore the many grottos by ship’s tender, and then across to the uninhabited island of Palmarola, within sight of Ponza. Many consider Palmarola to also be one of the most attractive islands in the world. Overnight for cocktails and dinner in a private anchorage off of Palmarola.
Cruise in the morning to Ventotene, a small island – under three kilometers long – and one more suited to those looking for some serious peace and solitude. The island’s ancient and only port was dug by the Romans out of the volcanic rock who enjoyed Ventotene as a resort location. Take the ship’s tender over to mooring balls off of Santo Stefano, about 1.5 kilometers away. Explore this small island, which is dominated by a prison, built by Ferdinand IV. Built around a circular courtyard, the prison was intended to reproduce the circles of Dante’s Inferno. Around the old ancient Roman Harbor in Ventotene, are Roman fish pools and a Roman shopping arcade still in use today. The main town is above the Roman shopping arcade and worth exploring, and perhaps visiting after dinner to sit in a local café for coffee. Overnight in Ventotene.
Castello Aragonese, Ischia
Leave for Ischia in the morning. Ischia is a volcanic spa island with many sulfur springs and medicinal bathing areas. Deep underneath Ischia, the volcano is still active, and is sending to the island’s surface, hot thermal waters in springs and geysers laden with various minerals. Considerable scientific research has been done in Ischia over the years to isolate the mineral qualities of the various thermal springs and volcanic mud for the possible health benefits. Unique to Ischia are “Spa Gardens”, where thermal pools of various temperatures and mineral content are spread throughout a park like setting. Negombo Spa Garden has sculpture gardens interspersed among mini thermal pools and springs, all cascading down a hillside, providing beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea. Towards cocktail time, head to a local boutique winery. Ischia is steadily gaining worldwide recognition for the quality of the wines being produced. At the vineyard of Vigne di Chignole, have a tour of the ancient winery operation, still in use after many centuries, and sample the wines. The island is very large with different towns and sights to see. On the southern end of the island is Castle Argonese, once a walled city housing over 2000 people which is open today for touring. Overnight.
Depart for Sorrento after breakfast. Sorrento was the “Surrentum” of the Romans, a resort famed for its scenery and climate. In the 19th century it was a popular winter resort for northern Europeans. Explore the charming town and the countryside noted for its citrus orchards, and also as the home of the Italian aperitif, Limoncello. Sorrento is a great location from which to depart for a 45 minute drive to see Pompeii for a 3 hour guided tour.
Cruise early in the morning to Amalfi, one of Italy’s most romantic villages, which clings to the dramatic slopes of the ruggedly beautiful Amalfi Coast. Visit Amalfi town and the Cathedral. Take a taxi up and have lunch at Ravello village, with its spectacular views of the coast and magnificent villas. Tour the Villa Rodulfo, where, from the outside gardens, the view is the most spectacular. In the afternoon cruise to Positano, built around a small curving bay on a steep hill overlooking the island of the Sirens. Once a sleepy fishing village, Positano is one of the most picturesque towns on the Amalfi coast. The typical Moorish style houses are lined up along the slopes facing the sea. Steep steps, narrow walking streets, courtyards and gardens furnish the rest of the town. This is the home of the Capri sandal, and there are many little boutiques and shops lining the winding alleyways and walking streets. Steam to Capri to overnight dockside in the harbor. After dinner head up to the village on the top of the island, which has a very active and chic nightlife. This is the location for nightclubbing, if of interest, with the European jet set.
Enjoy Capri, which overlooks the stunning Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius, and has always been a favorite location for the privileged. Once home to the Roman Emperor Tiberius, Capri now serves as the perfect getaway in which to experience Italy’s natural, scenic beauty. Capri has two levels. There is a walking and shopping area right around the marina. However, the main town, on top of Capri, accessible by funicular is lovely with upscale, tiny shops and many street cafes. The shopping street is quite famous and here you will probably find a store from every important designer. Wander the streets and shops, and stop for refreshment at an outdoor café in one of the little piazzas as you watch Capri life go by. Overnight.
Early morning departure for a two-hour steam to Naples to disembark.