Oceania Cruises is proud to partner with Food & Wine Trails, America’s foremost culinary travel company, in the offering of this tour. Food and Wine Trails tours are always kept intimate and visit sites not typically offered by mainstream travel suppliers. Their tours are always led by a knowledgeable, English-speaking sommelier, wine or food expert, cooking instructor or chef, who enjoys introducing visitors to some of the best and most authentic food and wine of their region.
On August 24, AD 79 in the Italian region of Campania, the earth began to shake and Mount Vesuvius erupted, altering life and land forever. Today you will experience, and even taste, the monumental effects the volcano has on the past and the present. You will visit ancient ruins of a Roman home that, like the neighboring town of Pompeii, was covered in volcanic ash and preserved in time. You will also visit a family-run winery that sits at the foot of the mountain and taste wines made with grapes grown in the now volcanic soil.
You will first have a guided tour of the Villas of Ancient Stabiae, described in a Smithsonian article as "the largest concentration of well-preserved elite seafront Roman villas in the entire Mediterranean world." Believed to be summer homes of the Roman elite, each villa boasts more than 110,000 square feet of space, with multiple dining rooms that overlook the sea, private heated baths, decorated gardens and huge colonnaded courtyards. Only recently dug out, you can still see the existence of an ancient water heating system, mosaic floors and structure walls decorated with beautiful frescoes.
From Stabiae, you will drive up to the southern face of Vesuvius to the winery and home of the Sorrentino family. The Sorrentino’s have been making wine on this land for more than a century, and are said to produce the finest example of wine made from the Lacryma grape. You will immediately feel like one of the family as they greet you at the door with open arms. A member of the family will walk you through the vineyards and describe in detail the effects the volcanic soil has on growing grapes, as well as the other fruits and vegetables planted here on their land. Back in the family kitchen, the women of the family will prepare a multi-coursed lunch of local specialties and traditional dishes that will be served with a selection of their highly rated wines.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of moderate to easy walking; however, there is some uneven terrain and steps to negotiate. Due to excavations taking place, guests should use caution and remain with the group at all times. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Comfortable, weather appropriate clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. While there are public restroom facilities at Villa Arianna, there are none at Villa San Marco. Given it is a set meal that is served on this excursion, guests with any dietary restrictions should advise the Destination Services Desk once on board the ship.