Here’s an idea for an add-on when visiting Rome or Southern Italy

TourCrarfters’ 3-day/2-night Music Under the Stars in Pompei package.  It includes two overnights at the hotel of your choice, daily breakfast, car rental for three days (with pick-up and drop-off at the Naples airport or rail station) plus a ticket for the Pompei Festival, which takes place in August and September.

The package costs $315 in the 3-star Hotel Andris, a modern hotel with swimming pool in the Vesuvius National Park, or $355 in the 4-star Relais Villa Signorini, a lovely 18th-century villa with garden in Herculaneum,,  or the stylish 4-star Hotel Amieto, which has Tempur-Pedic mattresses and a rooftop terrace right in the heart of Pompei

Pompei is, of course, the ancient Roman city that was buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD.  The Festival, in its second year, presents opera and ballet performances—featuring international stars—in the restored 2nd-century B.C. Grand Theater of Pompei. Among the operas on offer are Tosca, La Traviata, Nabucco and The Barber of Seville (there’s a $15 surcharge for the operas).  The ballets include Swan Lake and the Carmen Suite.  It’s all quite a spectacle on a warm, starlit summer evening in a place that so splendidly evokes the history of Rome and, indeed, Italy.

During the day the rental car offers opportunities to see  the ruins of Herculaneum, a less-famous and less-crowded town buried in the same earthquake, drive/climb Mt Vesuvius for a breathtaking view of the Neapolitan and Salerno gulfs, or visit the Sorrentino Wimery on the slopes of Vesuvius, for a taste of the famous Lacryma Christi wine.  Of course you can also tour the colorful city of Naples, which boasts a thousand-year history and  authentic pizza, or drive along the stunningly beautiful Amalfi Coast, stopping for dinner in a charming resort town like Positano..

All prices quoted are per person, double occupancy, and are subject to availability.  To see more information about other TourCrafters packages and a detailed itinerary for the Music Under the Stars in Pompei package, log onto www.tourcrafters.it and click “Deal of the Week.”  For reservations, call TourCrafters toll-free at 1-800-ITALY95.

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