Small group tour Gardens of the Amalfi coast, Capri and Ischia tour Italy

6 nights/7 days

Sorrento • Villa Rufolo• Villa Cimbrone • Tenuta Porta di Ferro• Villa San Michele • La Mortella • Ischia

A 6-night garden tour of the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Ischia for small groups of up to 14 people staying in Sorrento and Ischia, to visit gardens of the region, whose climate is suitable for olives, vines, oranges and lemons, and tender exotics.
Holiday price guide

Available on selected dates, as specified below, from £2,690 per person.

Luxury garden tour of Amalfi Coast, Capri and Ischia for small groups of up to 14 people

This 6-night Italian garden tour of the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Ischia for small groups of up to 14 people offers a classic introduction to the landscape, history and flora of Campania including the magical islands of Capri and Ischia. You are based in Sorrento and then on the island of Ischia. In Ravello, perched high above the coast, the remarkable site of Villa Cimbrone boasts a wisteria-clad pergola almost the length of the garden, formal and informal side gardens, a rose garden and trees such as umbrella pines, plane trees and olives that intermingle with palms, cycads, phormiums and yuccas. An air of slight neglect and seemingly wild native euphorbias, scented anemones and giant fennel create a pleasing and relaxed atmosphere. Nearby the gardens of Villa Rufolo extend along three terraces that contain a variety of trees and flowers, from palms and yuccas to oleander and bougainvillaea. A gem is the private Tenuta Porta di Ferro near Salerno, a Grandi Giardini Italiani where the estate includes rare plants, Mediterranean native species and an experimental garden with water plants and contemporary design. The gardens of this estate date from the 1920s when planes, palms and cycads were introduced. Later magnolia grandiflora, pinus pinea, pomegranates, hydrangea and bougainvillaea were added. These form part of the Giardino Novecento, one of four distinct gardens: the others being the Garden of Silos, the Garden of the Garden and the Garden of Experiments. About 400 plant species are to be found including water plants and rare plants. The island of Capri is home to the extraordinarily beautiful villa and gardens created by Axel Munthe will entrance and delight. Sculptures, ancient artefacts, a granite Sphinx, a Greek tomb are to be discovered throughout the gardens, shady pergolas and a profusion of colour as well as stunning panoramas of the island. You are accompanied on a walking tour of the Giardini di Augustus, botanical gardens designed in terraces overlooking the sea full of ornamental plants and flowers. Finally you cross to the island of Ischia where you visit the private gardens of Ravino, home to succulents and cacti, and then you will treasure a visit to La Mortella, the home and gardens created by Lady Walton, an exotic oasis amongst the maquis where luxuriant plants and trees from around the world co-exist with the indigenous, creating a unique universe with an aromatic fragrance.

Highlights

Sorrento • Ravello • Villa Rufolo• Villa Cimbrone • Amalfi Paradise Cloister • Tenuta Porta di Ferro• Villa San Michele Axel Munthe • Villa Jovis • Giardini di Augustus • Ravino • La Mortella • Ischia

Day by day

You may choose to fly to Naples between the 06.40 flight from Gatwick arriving at 10.20 or the 15.00 flight arriving at 18.40. You are met and transferred to the hotel. Free time and dinner under your own steam. The hotel is in the centre of Sorrento with plenty of restaurants within easy walking distance.

Depart after breakfast for a full day excursion by coach accompanied by a local guide for the spectacular drive along the coast road to spend the day in Ravello and Amalfi. There is plenty of time to explore the delights of the Villa Cimbrone and the Villa Rufolo in Ravello, free time for lunch and then a visit to Amalfi where you stop to visit its Paradise Cloister. You make your own arrangements for dinner.

Today you are taken to Capri by boat with a guide for a visit first to Anacapri and the extraordinary Villa San Michele, home of Axel Munthe. Enjoy this astonishing collection of ancient artefacts, mosaics and sculptures set amidst splendid vegetation. Then there is free time for lunch before visiting the Giardini di Augustus and a gentle walk to the Punta Tragara from where you can admire the Faraglioni rocks. For those who are fit and able walkers and happy to cope with the steps and uneven surfaces, an optional visit to the amazing site and Roman ruins of Villa Jovis is possible (entrance fees at own cost). Return to your hotel.

Today we are pleased to offer you a hidden gem near Salerno. The Tenuta Porta di Ferro is a private estate with several distinct garden areas devoted to rare plants, contemporary and experimental design, water plants and Mediterranean species. It is a member of the Grandi Giardini Italiani and the garden development started in the early 20th Century. The journey time is about 90 minutes by car. Once there you will visit the themed gardens, presented by a botany expert from the estate, translated by your English-speaking escort. A brunch is included and there is also the chance to see and taste the farm produce, much of it DOP. The gardens of this estate date from the 1920s when planes, palms and cycads were introduced. Later magnolia grandiflora, pinus pinea, pomegranates, hydrangea and bougainvillaea were added. These form part of the Giardino Novecento, one of four distinct gardens: the others being the Garden of Silos, the Garden of the Garden and the Garden of Experiments. About 400 plant species are to be found including water plants and rare plants. The extensive gardens feature mixed borders of perennials, citrus trees, lavender, roses, wistaria, bougainvillaea, agapanthus, water plants, olives and vines. Return to your hotel for the evening.

Leave Sorrento at 9.30 for the direct ferry (50 mins) to Ischia crossing the Bay of Naples. You are transferred to your hotel where you can leave your bags but it is probably too early to check-in. In the afternoon you are taken to the gardens of Ravino, a private garden housing a private collection of exotic plants, succulents and cacti, unique in Europe. Spread over an area of about 6000 square metres, you will be able to walk through the gardens along pathways of over 500 metres in an area with abundant plants. The gardens are the result of the passion and care of Giuseppe d’Ambra. You return to your hotel with free time to find a local restaurant or the hotel’s restaurant for dinner.

A visit to La Mortella is the highlight of your stay on Ischia. You are transferred to the garden by mini-bus or small coach. You will have an English-speaking guide to give you a tour of the gardens (about 2 hours). La Mortella is Lady Walton’s magnificent garden that is an oasis of greenery amid the maquis. The air is humid enough for New Zealand tree ferns and there is a range of rare and tender trees, palms, shrubs and bulbs. The garden offers a parallel existence of indigenous plants (the aroma of the maquis or macchia in Italian abounds) as well as the exotics. Charming, fascinating and oozing specimens to delight. The rest of the day is your own.

The morning at leisure before departing in the afternoon by road and sea back to Naples and on to the airport for the flight leaving at 19.25 arriving back into Gatwick at 21.10.

We enjoyed the holiday very much and thought that everything was very well organised.
Mr M, May 2019

From about Prices per person 7 May 2020 £2,690 28 May 2020 £2,690 18 June 2020 £2,820 10 September 2020 £2,760

Holiday Code SGGT02

Luxury garden tour of Amalfi Coast, Capri and Ischia for small groups of up to 14 people

You may choose to fly to Naples between the 06.40 flight from Gatwick arriving at 10.20 or the 15.00 flight arriving at 18.40. You are met and transferred to the hotel. Free time and dinner under your own steam. The hotel is in the centre of Sorrento with plenty of restaurants within easy walking distance.

Depart after breakfast for a full day excursion by coach accompanied by a local guide for the spectacular drive along the coast road to spend the day in Ravello and Amalfi. There is plenty of time to explore the delights of the Villa Cimbrone and the Villa Rufolo in Ravello, free time for lunch and then a visit to Amalfi where you stop to visit its Paradise Cloister. You make your own arrangements for dinner.

Today you are taken to Capri by boat with a guide for a visit first to Anacapri and the extraordinary Villa San Michele, home of Axel Munthe. Enjoy this astonishing collection of ancient artefacts, mosaics and sculptures set amidst splendid vegetation. Then there is free time for lunch before visiting the Giardini di Augustus and a gentle walk to the Punta Tragara from where you can admire the Faraglioni rocks. For those who are fit and able walkers and happy to cope with the steps and uneven surfaces, an optional visit to the amazing site and Roman ruins of Villa Jovis is possible (entrance fees at own cost). Return to your hotel.

Today we are pleased to offer you a hidden gem near Salerno. The Tenuta Porta di Ferro is a private estate with several distinct garden areas devoted to rare plants, contemporary and experimental design, water plants and Mediterranean species. It is a member of the Grandi Giardini Italiani and the garden development started in the early 20th Century. The journey time is about 90 minutes by car. Once there you will visit the themed gardens, presented by a botany expert from the estate, translated by your English-speaking escort. A brunch is included and there is also the chance to see and taste the farm produce, much of it DOP. The gardens of this estate date from the 1920s when planes, palms and cycads were introduced. Later magnolia grandiflora, pinus pinea, pomegranates, hydrangea and bougainvillaea were added. These form part of the Giardino Novecento, one of four distinct gardens: the others being the Garden of Silos, the Garden of the Garden and the Garden of Experiments. About 400 plant species are to be found including water plants and rare plants. The extensive gardens feature mixed borders of perennials, citrus trees, lavender, roses, wistaria, bougainvillaea, agapanthus, water plants, olives and vines. Return to your hotel for the evening.

Leave Sorrento at 9.30 for the direct ferry (50 mins) to Ischia crossing the Bay of Naples. You are transferred to your hotel where you can leave your bags but it is probably too early to check-in. In the afternoon you are taken to the gardens of Ravino, a private garden housing a private collection of exotic plants, succulents and cacti, unique in Europe. Spread over an area of about 6000 square metres, you will be able to walk through the gardens along pathways of over 500 metres in an area with abundant plants. The gardens are the result of the passion and care of Giuseppe d’Ambra. You return to your hotel with free time to find a local restaurant or the hotel’s restaurant for dinner.

A visit to La Mortella is the highlight of your stay on Ischia. You are transferred to the garden by mini-bus or small coach. You will have an English-speaking guide to give you a tour of the gardens (about 2 hours). La Mortella is Lady Walton’s magnificent garden that is an oasis of greenery amid the maquis. The air is humid enough for New Zealand tree ferns and there is a range of rare and tender trees, palms, shrubs and bulbs. The garden offers a parallel existence of indigenous plants (the aroma of the maquis or macchia in Italian abounds) as well as the exotics. Charming, fascinating and oozing specimens to delight. The rest of the day is your own.

The morning at leisure before departing in the afternoon by road and sea back to Naples and on to the airport for the flight leaving at 19.25 arriving back into Gatwick at 21.10.

From about Prices per person 7 May 2020 £2,690 28 May 2020 £2,690 18 June 2020 £2,820 10 September 2020 £2,760

Holiday Code SGGT02

Our prices include ● Scheduled flights with British Airways London Gatwick to Naples return in Eurotraveller. Choice of times on the outward journey.
● Transportation on the mainland in a luxury small coach with one piece of luggage per person
● Transportation from Sorrento to Ischia and from Ischia to hotel, back from hotel to Naples
● Services of a local guide for the excursions and visits as mentioned
● Entrance tickets to the villas and gardens mentioned with brunch at the Tenuta Porta di Ferro
● Four nights’ bed and breakfast at the Hotel Antiche Mura, Sorrento in a comfort double or twin room
● Two nights’ bed and breakfast at the Regina Isabella on Ischia in a garden view room
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals not mentioned
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel

Additional information Supplements:
Sea view room at the Regina Isabella, Ischia £130 all dates except June when it's £200 per person for 2 nights
Single room based on a comfort double for single use at the Antiche Mura £790 May, £910 June, £880 September
Single room based on standard double for single use at the Antiche Mura £570 May, £690 June, £630 September
Deposit payment: £400 per person

Luxury garden tour of Amalfi Coast, Capri and Ischia for small groups of up to 14 people

Expressions Holidays includes these hotels in this small group touring holiday.
Hotels included in this tour
Hotel Antiche Mura

Hotel Antiche Mura is a 4-star boutique hotel in an excellent central location. Beautiful gardens with citrus groves and a lovely outdoor swimming pool make it a relaxing haven from the bustle of Sorrento.

Comfort double or twin room

Hotel Regina Isabella

The Regina Isabella Resort is a luxurious five-star hotel which combines an excellent range of facilities with effortless style.

Garden view room

From about Prices per person 7 May 2020 £2,690 28 May 2020 £2,690 18 June 2020 £2,820 10 September 2020 £2,760

Holiday Code SGGT02

Luxury garden tour of Amalfi Coast, Capri and Ischia for small groups of up to 14 people

About Amalfi Coast

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to the Amalfi Coast is perfect for those looking for relaxation as well as sightseeing in coastal towns such as Amalfi, Positano, Ravello and Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast as well as the islands of Capri and Ischia. The Amalfi Coast is best known for its dramatic coastal scenery, deep gorges and violently-shaped rocks that plunge into a deep blue sea, tempered by the luxuriant vegetation that thrives in the favourable climate; lemons, oranges, olives, almonds, vines, camellias and bougainvillaea. Human habitation thrives in the tiny fishing villages in rocky coves and in the pink and white-washed flat-roofed or domed buildings that hug the cliffs in layers. The Amalfi Coast's history of trading throughout the Mediterranean still shows in the Moorish and Byzantine architectural styles; domes and arcades, wrought-iron balconies and colourful ceramic tiles which depict the region. The cuisine of the Amalfi Coast is light and simple, based on local fish and shellfish, lemons and oranges, mozzarella and fresh herbs. Whilst the climate of the Amalfi Coast is particularly appealing too, there are numerous excursion and sightseeing possibilities for your holiday including the islands of Procida, Capri and Ischia, the city of Naples, the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the romance of Ravello, the bustle of Sorrento and the charm of Positano.

Highlights of the Amalfi Coast

A drive along the Amalfi coast from Positano to Amalfi offers stunning and breath-taking scenery. Visit the Emerald Cave near Vettica Minore by boat. Enjoy the superb view of the coast from the 13th Century Gothic Villa Rufolo in Ravello (we offer garden tour holidays of the Amalfi Coast and Capri including a visit to Villa Rufolo). Spend a full day visiting the awe-inspiring site of Pompeii, visiting the remains of the villas containing both vibrant and delicate frescoes. Herculaneum is nearby and also worth visiting. The Greek site of Paestum has outstanding Doric temples. In the resort of Amalfi stroll along the Via Genova and the Via Capuano taking in the typical architecture of Campania with the flower-covered balconies, narrow alleyways leading to fountain-filled little squares. Take the chairlift on Capri to Monte Solaro or walk to the Migliara Belvedere for a view of the lighthouse. On Ischia visit the beaches of Citara and Maronti and enjoy a morning's walk to Monte Epomeo for panoramic views of the coast. Well worth visiting is the often-forgotten island of Procida between Naples and Ischia, with its vines and fishing, flat roofed white houses and atmosphere most characteristic of the region in bygone days. Visit Vietri for ceramics as well as stalls of lemons, garlic and peppers.

Cultural highlights of the Amalfi Coast

The House of the Vettii at Pompeii, the baroque Palazzo Reale at Caserta, Villa Jovis in Capri, the Doric temples of Paestum, Michelozzo`s tomb of Cardinal Rinaldo Brancaccio in the 14th Century church of Sant`Angelo, and in Naples: `Modesty` by Antonio Corradini in the Cappella Sansevero, the Gothic church of San Lorenzo Maggiore and the Majolica tiles in the cloisters of the 14th Century Santa Chiara.

Festivals on the Amalfi Coast

The Ravello music festival June to July, the festival of San Costanzo on 14 May on Capri, the festival of Sant`Antonio in Anacapri on 13 June, the festival of Madonna della Liberta in Marina Grande in September, Lo Sbarco dei Saraceni in Positano on the second Sunday in August.

Gastronomy of the Amalfi Coast

Neapolitan cuisine is now famous the world over for its use of tomatoes, pizza, mozzarella cheese, dried pasta and lemons. Local specialities include Mozzarella in Carrozza, Panzanella alla napoletana, Pasta alla sorrentina (with scamorza cheese and tomatoes), Sartu (an elaborate rice pie stuffed with meats, sausages, mushrooms etc), Timballo di Maccheroni (also elaborate with maccheroni baked in a pie and a sauce of chicken livers, mushrooms and black truffles), Carciofi ripieni alla napoletana (baked stuffed artichokes), Coviglie (a mousse-like dessert), Sproccolati (sun-dried figs on sticks) and Sfogliatelle (breakfast pastries). The region produces a number of excellent red and white wines. The most famous white is called Lacrimi Christi, from vines grown on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Taurasi from Avellino is a full-bodied red. Capri, Ischia and Sorrento all produce their own local wines.

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