Italy is one of the world’s greatest food destinations, and that’s one of the reasons we love it so much! Southern Italy is the heart of the country’s gastronomy scene, producing greats such as mouth-watering mozzarella, succulent seafood and, everyone’s favourite, Neapolitan pizza.
One of the reasons Campania’s food is so good is the rich, volcanic soil. Even the Romans used the region for agriculture. Then, of course, there’s the coast. The UNESCO-listed towns along the Amalfi Coast may be famous for their picturesque landscapes and stunning scenery, but in their early years during ancient times, they were Roman fishing towns. The traditions continued and fishing remains a major part of the local economy today. The delicious, fresh food is reason enough to visit this iconic coastal destination. But that view sure doesn’t hurt.
We’ve put together a tour of Campania that will feed your need for food, views and the Italian dulce vida. Italy’s public transport options outside of the major cities are limited to say the least. So traveling by private car with Daytrip will save you a bunch of hot, crowded train and bus transfers. But the other benefit is you can eat and drink to your heart’s content as you travel! And our friendly local drivers will happily give you tips on the local dishes you just have to try.
Your Campania Food & WineTour Itinerary:
- Day 1: Naples to Sorrento (stops in: Cantina del Vesuvio, Pompeii)
- Day 2: Sorrento to Ravello (stops in: Positano)
- Day 3: Ravello to Paestum (stops in: Grotta dello Smeraldo, Bosco de’ Medici Winery)
- Day 4: Paestum to Naples (stops in: Mount Vesuvius, Herculaneum Archaeological Area)
Day 1: Naples to Sorrento
Ice cold glass of Limoncello, anyone? If that’s your tipple, head from Naples to Sorrento, the home of Limone di Sorrento. Sorrento is the largest producer of the nation’s favourite digestif, and that’s where you’re heading today!
Cantina del Vesuvio
Wet your whistle with a 2-hour visit at this family-run winery. Standing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano has blessed the area with soil that is absolutely packed with nutrients. The vineyard was planted back in 1948 and it prides itself on organic production. Stop for a glass or two, or a guided tasting. And don’t miss out on the food offerings at the restaurant, which include homemade spaghetti and delicious antipasti platters. Before you head out, you can grab a few bottles of Cantina del Vesuvio wine to bring with you! No matter what, try the Lacryma Christi (literally ‘Tears of Christ’). This special wine is the closest you can get to the wine drunk by the ancient Romans.
Pompeii might be one of the most famous disasters in recorded history. You probably learned about the thriving Roman city that was buried beneath volcanic ash after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The nature of the eruption didn’t destroy the city, but rather buried it in a state of near-perfect preservation. Take 2 hour so walk the streets of the city, and get a glimpse of life in ancient Rome. The ruins are vast, so we recommend you plan your visit in advance or hire a guide.
Arrival in Sorrento
Benvenuti a Sorrento! The Sorrento Peninsula separates the Gulf of Naples from the Gulf of Salerno and its steep hills are the land of lemon trees, which flower 4 times a year. So locals get a year-round harvest of the quintessential Italian citrus.
The lemons are used in a variety of ways including in baking, for sweet treats, or for finishing off savoury dishes such as risottos and pastas. But a massive 60% of all lemons grown in Sorrento are used for the refreshing digestif, Limoncello. It is said that the production of Limoncello dates back to 1900, when large wealthy families in the Sorrento region would make the liqueur at home to offer to their guests. Today, the drink is served everywhere in Sorrento and homemade versions are for sale in every shop, restaurant and cafe.
Limoncello is usually had after a meal, so first gorge on some of Sorrento’s classic dishes. Gnocchi alla sorrentina, a simple gnocchi dish tossed with tomato sauce and mozzarella, is a rustic favorite. And surprisingly many will tell you that the best pizza in Italy comes from Sorrento. You probably (definitely) had some in Naples, so you be the judge! But the star of the show is definitely the seafood. From Spaghetti e Vongole (spaghetti with clams) and Frittura di Calamari & gamberi (lightly floured calamari and fresh shrimps) to octopus casserole and spider crab soup, Neptune’s bounty is a blessing for your tastebuds.
From Sorrento, you can also take a ferry to Capri. Dripping in natural beauty, the island’s steep cliffs drop into the bright blue waters of the Mediterranean. Capri’s most famous local dish is “ravioli capresi”, a light, airy pasta stuffed with creamy local cheese, then gently tossed with basil and tomatoes. Or try the world-famous Caprese salad in its hometown! For dessert, tuck into torta caprese, a wonderfully rich chocolate and almond cake that’s traditionally served alongside ice-cold Limoncello.
Duration: 5 hours and 25 minutes
Book a car from Naples to Sorrento
Day 2: Sorrento to Ravello
When you’re ready for a new culinary twist, head from Sorrento to Ravello. Delicious food paired with some of the most dramatic (literally) views on the planet.
On the way, stop for 90 minutes at the most famous town on the Amalfi Coast. Positano attracts droves of tourists for its picturesque pastel houses perched on a steep mountain. But its fishing village soul still lives on. Seafood is the town’s bread and butter, and we can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than tucking into the fresh catch with a squeeze of locally grown lemon, while admiring the breathtaking scenery of Amalfi’s mountainous coast. It’s beautiful, it’s romantic, it’s simply a dream. There are tons of restaurant guides about Positano, but here are a few tips.
For scenic views and local wine, Da Gabrisa is a hilltop restaurant offering a terrace with views of the coastline and the famous Amalfi Coast cliffs. Chez Black is a beachfront choice with comforting food like pizza and wonderful views of the water, while Next 2 offers upscale dining in a romantic setting.
Some of the best seafood can be found at the hideaway restaurant Lo Guarracino, Ristorante La Cambusa by the beach and La Terra, which possibly has the best views in town. Or you can just grab a Cuppetiello di Pesce, literally “a little cup of fish” from a street vendor. Can’t go wrong with a mix of fried seafood you can eat like popcorn.
After your meal, grab dessert at a small cafe or bakery. The town’s signature sweet is sfogliatella Santa Rosa, a crunchy pastry filled with semolina, ricotta, dried fruit and eggs.
Arrival in Ravello
Ravello’s UNESCO-listed villas and their gardens are some of the prettiest places on the planet.
The 13th century Villa Rufolo is a must-see, with Arabic-influenced decor and lush, colourful gardens that inspired Wagner for the garden of Klingsor in his opera Parsifal. And 11th century Villa Cimbrone is Ravello’s other top attraction. Its English-style garden leads to the famous “Terrace of Infinity”, which Gore Vidal described as the most beautiful place on the planet. While Villa Rufolo is a museum, Cimbrone actually doubles as a five star hotel, complete with Michelin-star restaurant, if you’re in the market for a truly luxurious experience!
Along with the amazing views and historic architecture, you’ll be spoiled for choice with cuisine. Ravello’s appealing location above the coast means it gets delicious seafood and fresh produce from the surrounding hills (and of course the sea!). Tomatoes, olives, potatoes, herbs, zucchini.. You name it, Ravello grows it. Perhaps its most famous vegetable is broccoli rabe, a bitter veggie that you’ll find accompanying seafood dishes or even topping a pizza.
Ravello is a tiny town, but has nearly 3 dozen restaurants. You can treat yourself to Michelin-star dining, or grab a simple pizza. Ravello’s traditional cuisine focuses on pasta, eggplant, and tomatoes, and the eggplant parmesan here is about as good as it gets. For dessert, it’s got to be lemon cake! Made with the locally grown lemons from neighboring Sorrento, this classic Amalfi dessert is a must, served with a crisp and cold glass of Limoncello.
For a food-focused experience in town, sign up for a cooking class with Mamma Agata. Something of a local celebrity, she’ll share the secrets to great Italian cooking before you sit down to a fantastic meal. MasterChef UK even filmed their semi-final here!
Duration: 4 hours and 48 minutes
Book a car from Sorrento to Ravello
Day 3: Ravello to Paestum
Today’s theme is delicious dairy, as we take you from Ravello to Paestum where you’ll experience one of Italy’s finest exports – mozzarella!
Grotta dello Smeraldo
Take a bit of a detox by spending 45 minutes at the stunning “Emerald Cave”. Sunlight refracts through the water into the cave, creating a mystical green glow. Only accessible by rowboat, it’s best to visit around 1 PM when the flow of sunlight is just right.
Bosco de’ Medici Winery
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Okay, detox over! Time for more wine! Bosco de’ Medici Winery is fairly new on the scene, having only started producing wine from their own vineyard in 2014. But despite their young age, Bosco de’ Medici Winery produces fine wines and traditional meals. So stop for some food and drink, or join a guided tour to learn about the production process, and understand the impact Mount Vesuvius and its volcanic soil has had on the grapes. We recommend booking in advance on the official website.
Arrival in Paestum
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⚜️⚜️⚜️ 🇮🇹- 🏛 : Tempio di Nettuno . 📅: V sec. a.c.. 📍: Paestum (SA). 🗺: Italia 🇮🇹 – Il Tempio di Era o Tempio di Nettuno, fu eretto a Paestum intorno alla metà del V secolo a.c..In ordine dorico, con sei colonne sul lato corto e 14 su quello lungo, esso rappresenta un'anomalia rispetto alla canonica pianta dei templi greci che le volevano in numero dispari. Le colonne partono da un diametro di base si 2,09 m e arrivano ad 1,55 alla sommità e presentato 24 scanalature. . . ⚜️⚜️⚜️ 🇬🇧 – 🏛: Temple of Neptune. 📅: 5th cent. B.C.. 📍: Paestum (SA). 🗺: Italy 🇮🇹 – The Temple of Era or Temple of Neptune, was built in Paestum around the middle of the 5th century BC In Doric order, with six columns on the short side and 14 on the long side, it represents an anomaly with respect to the canonical plan of the Greek temples which they wanted them in odd numbers. The columns start from a base diameter of 2.09 m and reach 1.55 at the top and have 24 grooves. . – #paestum #paestumexperience #italia #italy #campania #salerno #cilento #estateitaliana #viaggioinitalia #templi #templidipaestum #capacciopaestum #tempoiodinettuno #ancientruins #archeology #heritage #archeologia #ancienthistory #antiquities #archeologicalsite #archeologylife #worldheritagesite #worldheritage #ancient #archeologist #ancienthistory #ancientarchitecture #architettura #architecture #monument
At first glance, modern Paestum is an unassuming Campanian town. But in reality, it’s home to an ancient Greek city with the best preserved Greek temples in all of Europe. And the surrounding area one the main producers of the ultimate Italian cheese, mozzarella di bufala.
The coastal lowlands around Paestum are the epicenter of the country’s mozzarella production. The Barlotti farm is one of the largest, and makes for a great visit if you want to learn how mozzarella is made and try some farm fresh dairy products. Quality is key here – they’re a proud member of the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP consortium. Along with mozzarella, they produce ricotta, bocconcino, yoghurt and even ice cream. In the name of sustainability the farm is focussed on minimal waste, so even buffalo meat is available on-site, along with vegetables that are produced in the farm garden.
The farm offers tastings, lunches and tours that aim to educate visitors about the running of a farm and the production process that goes into making this iconic cheese. Plenty of food options are available and, of course, some fantastic wine pairings!
Mozzarella aside, the Paestum archaeological site should be on the itinerary of every traveler in Southern Italy. The ancient Greek city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptionally well preserved temples. The three main temples, built between 550 and 450 BC, are interestingly all dedicated to female goddesses, and two of them you can still walk through two of the temples!
You also shouldn’t miss the Paestum museum, which is filled with smaller artefacts unearthed at the site and even some funerary frescoes like the one found in the famous Tomb of the Diver!
Duration: 5 hours and 42 minutes
Book a car from Ravello to Paestum
Day 4: Paestum to Naples
Once you’ve done with the dairy and deities, it’s time to head back from Paestum to Naples.
Most famous for its eruption in 79 AD that buried the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius is now a National Park where a short walk will take you directly to the rim of the crater. Take two hours to wander around the moon-like landscape of the gigantic crater, while taking in fabulous views of the Bay of Naples. Do check their website beforehand – it’s still an active volcano and the park occasionally closes it for safety.
Herculaneum Archaeological Area
Poor Herculaneum. Just like Pompeii, it was buried by Vesuvius’ eruption, but for some reason is often forgotten by tourists. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded in the 6th-7th BC centuries and rapidly blossomed into an affluent town with a population of around 4000. Like Pompeii, it’s amazingly well-preserved, and since it’s smaller and less crowded you have more room to explore the ruins of the ancient city including buildings, mosaics and fossilised remains of the city’s inhabitants.
Arrival in Naples
Looks like pizza’s back on the menu! You could spend an entire vacation sampling the city’s countless pizzerias in search of the perfect pie. And the internet isn’t much help considering the near infinite reviews and “best pizza” lists never agree on a firm winner. And we’re just talking about the good ol’ fashioned Neapolitan pizza. A basic dough topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil, born in the late 18th century.
Neapolitans take their pizza heritage very seriously. There’s even an official organisation whose primary purpose is to authenticate true Neapolitan pizza, and certifications are not handed out lightly. From the most popular Sorbillo, where long lines form outside as early as an hour before lunch service, to Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, which is widely believed to be the world’s first pizzeria (established in 1738), every neighbourhood has a great selection of eateries.
Da Michele is known for its simplicity and cheaper prices and, most famously, for being featured in Eat, Pray, Love when Julia Roberts’ character claims she is in love and having a relationship with her pizza. Warning: this is a common side effect of dining at Da Michele!
Don’t worry if pizza isn’t your bag (or if you’re all pizza’d out) as Naples has a ton of other food on offer. The bustling city is packed with cafes, restaurants, bars and bakeries just waiting to serve you with whatever may tickle your fancy! Pastry is an absolute must while in Italy, and the traditional piece is the lobster tail sfogliatella. Indulge while sipping a strong Italian espresso for the perfect start to your day.
While modern Naples is largely a gritty port, the UNESCO-listed historical centre is an architectural feast. There are over 400 churches in Centro Storico, as well as 3 castles and 2 royal palaces. Grandeur architecture can be viewed from the main central square, Piazza del Plebiscito, at magnificent buildings such as Palazzo Salerno, the Church of San Francesco di Paolo and the Royal Palace. Head to the Museo Archeologico Nazional to see a tremendous collection of ancient Roman artifacts, including those excavated from Pompeii and Herculaneum, and to Galleria Borbonica to explore Naples secret underground tunnels.
Above all, during your stay in Naples; Buon appetito!
Duration: 6 hours and 27 minutes
Book a car from Paestum to Naples
Ready to Book Your South Italy: Campania Food & Wine Tour?
Here’s each leg of the trip: