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Vesuvian Cities

Exploring the Bay of Naples
and Beyond

Nov 10 – 15, 2024


The cloud was rising from a mountain — at such a distance we couldn't tell which, but afterwards learned that it was Vesuvius. I can best describe its shape by likening it to a pine tree. It rose into the sky on a very long “trunk” from which spread some “branches.”

Pliny the Younger, 6.16

This five (5) day itinerary begins in Napoli, one of Italy’s most dynamic cities where thousands of years of history seem to converge at once. We’ll explore the city and its incredible archaeological museum, and then bring you beyond the bay to the Vesuvian cities where we’ll have fascinating archaeological visits with contemporary experts. You’ll blow your top! The story of those hot August AD79 days and the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius is one of legend, lore and history, and is definitely one to explore. Join us for a walk back in time as we trace those last days of the Vesuvian cities Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae, and explore the Bay of Naples.

Arrival: November 10

Arrival in Napoli at your leisure.

At 6pm, we’ll meet for a pleasant stroll through the historic Spaccanapoli to explore the layers of the city’s rich, vibrant culture on our way to our first local meal that exemplifies all that is Napoli! At dinner, we’ll discuss the itinerary, share the week’s schedule, maps and divulge our favorite places to eat and shop.

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 1: November 11 Napoli

8:30am meeting

The best view of ancient Naples is from below! We’ll begin our day by exploring two (2) underground sites, followed by a visit to the National Archaeological Museum of Naples MANN and a behind the scenes look at the collection.

Afternoon and evening free.

Meals Included: Lunch

Day 2: November 12 Pompeii

8:30am meeting

Pompeii awaits! Our morning begins with exploration of the ins and outs of history’s most famous ‘lost and forgotten’ city. We take an extensive walk throughout the archaeological site and visit some of the lesser known corners with Pompeiian archaeologist colleagues.

Afternoon and evening free.

Meals Included: Lunch

Day 3: November 13 Herculaneum

8:30am meeting

Herculaneum exploration! We’ll compare and contrast the ancient Roman town with its larger neighbor, Pompeii, to provide a more intimate portrait of the Vesuvian cities. A visit to its on-site museum, will shed light on the last days of this fated coastal city

Afternoon and evening free.

Meals Included: Lunch

Day 4: November 14 Stabiae & the Far Side

8:30am meeting

This day takes us to the far side of Vesuvius to visit the series of seaside villas of Stabiae where we’ll talk with experts who have been excavating and preserving the ruins. To follow is a special access visit to the an ongoing excavation site, the so-called “Villa of Augustus” on the Vesuvian slopes.

Afternoon and evening free.

Meals Included: Lunch

Day 5: November 14 Oplontis

8:30am meeting

On our last day, we’’ll begin by unfolding the mysteries of the imperial-era Villa of Oplontis, and then examine the precious contents of the only excavated farmhouse from the Vesuvian cities, to connect to the agricultural make-up of Roman culture.

At 7pm, we will meet up in Napoli centro storico for our good bye dinner.

Meals Included: Lunch & Dinner

I felt I found my soulmates on the tour in terms of people who were equally passionate about ancient history and art. It was such a delight to learn from and interact with everyone in the group!

Roberta, Davis, California- Vesuvian Cities March 2024 Guest

This is so much more than a tour of ancient sites led by Darius and his archaeologist peers; it is a once-in-a-lifetime access to closed-to-the-public digs as well as gems off the beaten path. I highly recommend this course.

Karen, Fort Lauderdale, Florida- Vesuvian Cities March 2024 Guest

I did not realize how much Roman and Greek culture there is to see in the Naples area. And Naples turns out to be a wonderful modern city to visit.

Gary, New Haven, Connecticut- Vesuvian Cities March 2024 Guest

Dr Darius Arya Ph.D.

Darius Arya is an archaeologist, scholar, lecturer and television host who has been immersed in Ancient Rome since childhood. He has a BA in Classical History from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in Roman Archaeology from the University of Texas (Austin).

As a practicing field archaeologist, he has supervised excavations in the Rome Forum, Roman suburbs and Ostia Antica. Darius is the founder of Ancient Rome Live, a online educational platform showcasing history and pioneering archaeology, and co-founder of 501(c)3 non-profit American Institute for Roman Culture. Immersive content is his passion and has led him to host more than 20 international documentaries for History Channel, PBS, Wondrium, RAI5, National Geographic and Discovery, as well YouTube channel @DariusArya.

Fellow of the UNC
Global Research Institute
Fellow of The Explorers Club
Fellow American Academy (2002)
Fulbright Scholar


  • All meals and beverages, as detailed in the itinerary
  • All guided touring, admission fees, site transport and activities, as detailed in the itinerary
  • Expert guides and drivers, including your host and the 24/7 support of Ancient Rome Live’s partners on the ground
  • Expert travel team to plan all excursion details
  • Custom trip planning for add-on travel is available; please inquire
  • Participants can opt to receive educational credit for an added cost of $75 per person


  • Hotel Accommodations, Airport Transfers for arrivals and departures
  • Meals not specified and premium or alcoholic beverages
  • Optional activities and expenses
  • All gratuities
  • Trip insurance
Itineraries may be subject to change should there be any unforeseen events or closures. We do not accept liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control. We will be flexible and take advantage of our deep knowledge and network to provide the best possible experience. Uncompleted portions of the itinerary are not cause for refund.

Is this an academically credited course? Should I be prepared for testing?

No, this is not a credited course nor will there be testing. Credit is available upon request for additional fee. We will share our curated reading list before you arrive and after your visit, you will receive a Certificate of Participation.

What happens when I submit my deposit?

Darius will send you a Calendly link so that you can set up a private Google Meet to talk with him one-on-one about logistics, allergies, itinerary and more. FYI – we are happy to share our suggestions for hotels, transport, and more.

How many participants will there be?

Up to 14 guests, and you’ll meet them prior to your arrival in a group Google Meet. In October, Darius will host a 30-45 minute group chat to introduce everyone, discuss the week and field questions.

The visits are in the mornings. What is there to do in the afternoon?

Site visits are programmed each day between 8:30 and 2pm, giving you the afternoon to explore Napoli. Darius will be walking around and is always happy to have you join him. Evenings (Monday through Thursday) are yours to enjoy and if you want a little help, we have suggestions for more sites and restaurants.