Visions of Amalfi, Italy/ May 14-21, 2023

Highlights:

We have partnered with Your Custom Travels, a boutique full-service luxury tour operator that creates private and custom adventures. Between their expertise in all things Italy and our own experience creating photo programs of the highest caliber you'll get an unforgettable experience. Besides having yours truly as your photo mentor, there'll also be a cultural guide traveling with us for those who might not be so much into photography. But who still would like to enjoy the wonders and pleasures the Amalfi Coast has to offer. This one will be one, you definitely do not want to miss!

Details:

  • May 14-21, 2023
  • Cost: $5,100
  • Single Supplement: $800
  • Initial deposit: $1,000
  • (due 180 days before departure/ exact date TBA)
  • Final deposit: 100 days before departure
  • To register, go here

Introduction:

ITINERARY:

DAY ONE:  Buongiorno!  We will all meet in Rome to take our private bus down to the eastern end of the Amalfi coast, the beautiful coastal city of Salerno. Modern private apartments in the heart of this small bustling port city will be our homes for the next two nights so we can explore everything Salerno has to offer.

After checking in and settling into your room, we will walk around a bit and get our bearings enjoying a proper Italian welcome feast. Noticeable sport to photograph: The city and port of Salerno

Included: Welcome Dinner with local fresh products

DAY TWO:  Sunrise in Salerno. Step out of your door and be greeted with the sights and sounds of modern life in this ancient provincial capital.  After some time enjoying the area in the crisp morning light we will meet for breakfast at a nearby café. There is nothing quite like waking up with a cappuccino in an Italian plaza!

From breakfast, we will visit and photograph Saint Matthew’s Cathedral whose importance has continually surfaced in history. Since its creation in 1076, through the burial of Pope Gregory VII during the Renaissance, and finally as part of the landing site for Allied forces during Operation Avalanche. This magnificent church has a diverse and interesting history and owes its name to housing St. Matthew the apostle's relics in its golden baroque crypts.

After leaving the Cathedral and meandering through the streets, we will eventually make our way to the best pizza place in town to not only enjoy delicious pies but to cook some of our own!  We will learn their secrets as they open their kitchen and guide us through the process for a fun and delicious experience.

Leaving the pizza place we will ride up to the top of the steep hills that surround Salerno to Arechi Castle, the medieval fortification which has stood watch over the port city for 1,400 years. Not only will you explore a surprisingly intact and impressive castle, but the majestic view from far above Salerno alone is worth the visit!

After leaving Arechi castle we will walk down through the old town of Salerno, stopping frequently to take in the sites and sounds of the city streets. Eventually we will arrive at Minerva’s Garden, a 12th century medicinal garden spanning multiple levels and serving as a precursor to all later botanical gardens in Europe. These gardens provided medicinal herbs to Salerno’s highly regarded medical school nearby.

After touring the grounds and capturing the pictures you want of this natural beauty, we will visit a very different aesthetic form in the graffiti-muraled walls of the neighboring Fornelle district. Serving as a blend of a community art expression and improvement campaign, the creative residents of this lower-income area began drawing elaborate murals displaying local poetry on the walls of their homes to attract visitors and beautify their surroundings.

To conclude our day spent exploring everything Salerno has to offer, we will enjoy another excellent dinner nearby.

Photography notables: Street scenes galore, murals, cathedral, castle, birds-eye view of the city

Included: Breakfast, Pizza for lunch, Dinner

DAY THREE:  Today we will awaken early to scale the hills of Salerno for a different and more unique view of the city from above. We will walk the “Path of the Prince” to reach the ruins of an ancient church and see Salerno through a preserved arch in the morning light. Leaving this stunning view we will find our way back down to the city for an elaborate brunch.

Once we have finished our meal, we will pack our things and depart from our first homes in Salerno to our beautifully renovated, historic seaside villa in Vietri Sul Mare which we will enjoy for the next 6 nights. Seven levels of gardens filled with citrus trees and surrounded by bougainvillea, all within earshot of the lapping shores of the Mediterranean await you!

After a brief welcome and unpacking your things into your new rooms, we will ride into the hills above Vietri to the small town of Raito. We will spend most of our afternoon exploring Raito and a beautiful boutique organic vineyard owned by a local family. We will learn their winemaking process, wander their fields to photograph their vines, and delight in a homemade meal paired with their fantastic wines. This is not a standard commercial vineyard; you will be welcomed into the owner’s private home and live the real south Italian way, as a member of the owner's family!

Having filled our stomachs and used some of our energy throughout the day hiking, we will return to our villa for a relaxed photo workshop and discussion a short walk from our beds.

Photography notables: Path of the Prince Arch, Private Organic Vineyard, Raito’s landscape

Included: Bunch, Home cooked dinner at Winery

DAY FOUR:  This morning, after enjoying breakfast at the villa, we will drive into Vietri for a guided visit of the village which is famous for ceramics. We will meet a young master potter and tour his workshop to see how he has taken his unique artistic vision and infused it into this ancient art form to reach international acclaim.

Most towns along the Amalfi coast are known for unique specialties which distinguish them from their very close neighbors. From the town of ceramics (Vietri), we will take a short ride along the coast to the even smaller town of Cetara.

Cetara is enchanting in a way that is hard to describe without experiencing. It is the quintessential seaside town from story books, having changed little throughout its 1,300 year existence. The tiny fishing village is most known for its legendary tuna which is often shipped to japan for sushi and for its…unique… Colatura di Alici, or anchovy syrup, that the locals swear by.

Once we touch down in Cetara we will have several hours to temporarily lose ourselves in its narrow streets. Enjoy this experience of being lost in space and time before diving into an absolutely fresh meal as local as they come. Choose from any number of traditional Italian delicacies or see why this town of under 2,000 people is known as the Tuna capital of the world!

This evening we will return to our Villa to enjoy a spectacular musical performance with a few high energy surprises! This show will be accompanied by a wide assortment of regional tapas and drinks.

Photography notables: Ceramic workshop and Vietri town, Cetara fishing village, Musical Performance at villa

Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY FIVE:  This morning we have two options between which you can each choose, both ending in the world famous luxury capital of the coast, Positano! For the first choice you will have an earlier wake up call for a private bus ride to Bomerano, where we will begin the trek along the famous Path of the Gods.  We will walk along the highlands above the emerald sea contemplating the most striking panoramas on earth.  We will take our time to enjoy, shoot, rest and of course eat a quick breakfast along the path.

The second option sees you also awakening early, this time to transfer to the port of Salerno by private bus. From the port we will take a ferry directly to Positano in order to have more time to explore. This morning and early afternoon can be enjoyed as you wish; shopping, street photography,and sipping capuccinos or limoncello in a seaside cafe are all excellent options!

Once the first group has completed their incredible journey along the Path of the Gods, they will naturally find themselves descending into Positano. Both groups will meet here and continue to spend a bit of time enjoying the city before departing together on the ferry back to Salerno. We will take our private bus back to our Villa to rest and get comfortable before the evening.

In the evening we will meet again for a cozy dinner nearby after enjoying a very satisfying day on the coast.

Photography hotspots:  Different stops along the Path of the Gods, the view is incredible all the way and ruined houses, mountains, a famous fountain and statue will be perfect subjects for very special shots. Positano also offers beautiful views of a very different kind. The myriad of pastel buildings hiding elegant shops, narrow streets winding in the shade of the canopy of multi-colored bougainvillea, and mega-yachts perched alongside traditional wooden fishing boats are all elements of the refined Positano that will take your breath away!

Included:  Breakfast on the go and dinner in Vietri. (Lunch can be enjoyed at any of the myriad cafes in Positano at guest expense)

DAY SIX:  This morning after enjoying a delightful breakfast at our villa, we will find ourselves being transported to a photography environment very different from any we have yet experienced on the tour. We will take our bus to the Castelcivita grotto, known famously as the “Spartacus Caves”, a karst labyrinth where the famous gladiator turned general hid his forces before their final deadly battle against the Roman military. These caves contain a beautiful assortment of colors and interesting rock formations that will test your low light photography skills to the max!

After we’ve had our fill of spelunking, we will fill our bellies with a delicious home cooked meal in a small family restaurant nearby.

Once lunch has been enjoyed, we will make our way to Paestum the home of some of the best-preserved Ancient Greek ruins in the world! Here, the Temples of Hera and Athena, built circa 500 BC and the ancient village that surround them remain in remarkable condition. Words are hard to find to describe this foregone landscape where we will spend a fair amount of time.  After a private tour, we will have plenty of space to shoot the temples and town ruins from any angle you would like.

Leaving ancient Greece behind, we will make our way home to our Villa for a thorough photography workshop reviewing your portfolios of the previous days and preparing you further for the rest of our time.

After some time to freshen up, we will enjoy another delicious dinner together close by.

Photography notables: Castelcivita caves, Paestum temples and city ruins

Included: Breakfast, family recipe lunch, Dinner

DAY SEVEN:  Wake up to another excellent home made breakfast at our villa. Local fresh cheese and meats, eggs as you like them, perfect cappuccinos, and a wide assortment of baked goods make every morning exciting!

Another exciting aspect of today in particular is that we will be making our way to the namesake of the coast this morning, the majestic town of Amalfi! A UNESCO world heritage site due to its prominence as an independent maritime republic and its incredible beauty, the town is perched amongst impressive cliffs at the opening of a deep ravine in the shadow of Mount Cerreto. The kaleidescope of colors will instantly grab your attention as our ferry rounds the bend bringin Amalfi into view. You will immediately notice the yellow and green tile on the bell tower of the Amalfi Cathedral, the heart of the town and resting place of St. Andrew the apostle. We will have the morning to take in the sometimes chaotic atmosphere of the old capital filled to the brim with shops and cafes, gelato vendors and small markets that give the city life. Explore the cathedral or simply take in the street scenes at your leisure, camera in hand, so you don’t miss anything!

From the port of Amalfi we will take small boats to nearby Conca Dei Marini, an extremely small (600 person) seaside town, with a phenomenal restaurant only accessible by water. We will have an excellent lunch here next to the waves.

After lunch we will transfer back to Amalfi and ride to Ravello, a second UNESCO world heritage site, and quite possibly the scenic town with the most impressive views on the coast! This mountaintop village is the gateway to the Villa Cimbrone Gardens and their incredible infinity terrace. Cooled by the umbrella pines, we will take our time working on our photography by meandering through the spectacular gardens overlooking the sea.  Here, we will witness the merge of history, culture, architecture, arts and natural beauty in a way that is impossible to replicate. From the gardens we will walk down to the town square and have free time to photograph whatever strikes your eye in this magical place.

Late afternoon we will leave Ravello to make our way back to our home base. We will have time to unwind at the villa before meeting again for dinner as a group

Photography hotspots: Town of Amalfi and everything it contains, Conca dei Marini restaurant, Villa Cimbrone Gardens/Infinity terrace, Ravello town

Included: Breakfast, Sea-side lunch, Dinner.

DAY EIGHT:  Another beautiful morning will greet you as you rise and enjoy breakfast.

Once we have come together as a group, we will drive to the largest royal residence in the world, the home of the former kings of Naples and a UNESCO world heritage site, Caserta Royal Palace! Built in 1752, Caserta is known by scholars as the magnum opus of baroque architecture and we will have the pleasure of touring the grounds with a guide. This grand 1,200 room palace counts more than 40 monumental rooms entirely covered in frescoes, a number double that of the palace of Versailles! The expansive grounds also contain botanical gardens, fountains, lakes, temples, bath houses, a school of botany, and a neoclassical apiary with elaborate statuary. We will have time this morning to photograph the palace and grounds, finding new opportunities at every turn!

Once we leave Caserta, we will enjoy a fresh local lunch nearby.

This afternoon we have a second special experience for you, as we will explore a surprise archeological site which will you grant you thorough access to ensure you get every photo you want!

Once we have explored our surprise destination to the fullest, we will return to the villa to prepare for our final celebration.

In the evening we will gather for an elaborate final dinner to celebrate the conclusion of an excellent photography workshop!

Photography notables: Caserta Royal Palace, English Gardens at Caserta, SURPRISE

Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and a dinner feast at Villa

DAY NINE:  Preparation for departure and farewells, debriefing and transfers to Rome.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  1. How much walking/hiking will be involved? How difficult is the walking?  Here’s a fitness test for the rugged coast of Italy.  Locate the nearest high school stadium and march yourself to the bleachers (hometown bleachers preferably).  Walk from the bottom to the top and back down.  Repeat five times.  How are you feeling?  This is a good indicator less the cobble stone streets.  Consult your physician and please fill out the medical waiver that we will send to you.
  2. Do I need sturdy hiking shoes? Highly recommended.
  3. What will the weather be like? The weather is dry.  Expect 70’s during the day and cooler evenings, high 60’s low in the 50’s.
  4. How will we get around? We will have private van(s) and driver(s).
  5. How many people will be on the tour? Maximum of fourteen to ensure personal attention.
  6. What photography experience is required? All who have an interest in photography are welcome.  There will be optional sunrise shoots in the morning.  Mid-day will provide time to explore on your own, camera settings and critiques.  Please e-mail us at emsphotoadventures@gmail.com
  7. Can my spouse, who is not interested in photography come along? Yes! This tour offers a wide array of exciting activities, world class cuisine, rich history and cultural immersion in one of the most beautiful areas of the world!

YOUR TRIP INCLUDES:

All photo instruction all the time.

2 Days & 2 Nights in modern private apartments in the heart of Salerno

7 Days & 6 Nights in a beautifully renovated centuries-old villa on the sea

Six breakfasts

One brunch

Five lunches

Eight dinners

Diverse itinerary with emphasis on history and photography

Personalized 24-7 photography coaching

All transportation while on the tour*

Cooking class

Visits to 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Tour guides

All gratuities

Entrance fees

Transfers from Rome Airport to Salerno at arrival

Transfers from Salerno to Rome Airport at departure

YOUR TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:

* Flight to Rome

Lodging outside of Salerno and Vietri Sul Mare, Campania

* Note:  We will gladly arrange your travel to Rome for a 15% fee

PAYMENT INFORMATION: