Naples Bay as Melting Pot, Always at a Boil: Social Realities in Coastal Campania

July 23 – August 3, 2015


Ann O. Koloski-Ostrow, Brandeis University
Steven E. Ostrow, M.I.T.

We shall focus on the social history of ancient Greeks, Romans, and others along Naples Bay. We explore the everyday, momentary facts of ancient life in the street, bathing in public and private, the morning salutation in the houses of the rich, selling in the market, visiting the latrine, worship and sacrifice. The palatially housed and the homeless, the over-stuffed and the under-nourished, the free-born, the freedman, and the slave--all this host we shall visit amidst the natural beauty and man-made landscape that lie in the shadow of Vesuvius.

Overnight accommodation will for the most part be in the Society’s own Villa Vergiliana at Cumae, except for our two-night stay on Capri. All meals included, EXCEPT 2 lunches on Capri.


(12 days, 11 nights)

July 23 Thurs:

Assemble in Rome, Depart for Cumae by way of:
Terracina (“Jupiter Anxur” Sanctuary: Roman cult-&-concrete, & the Queen of Roman Roads: the Via Appia)
Sperlonga (Villa & Grotto of Tiberius: the Emperor at rural leisure)

July 24 Fri:

Cumae (Acropolis: temples, "Sibyl's Grotto": Greek religion, Vergil's poetry, Augustan promise)
Lake Avernus (Aeneas enters the world of Hades)
Pozzuoli (Puteoli: Macellum, Harbor, Amphitheater: Roman boom times)
The Solfatara (the living geology of the "Phlegraean Fields")

July 25 Sat:

Naples (Archaeol. Museum: spoils of great "Treasure Hunt"; Naples walking tour)

July 26 Sun:

Herculaneum (mansions for the rich, tenements for the poor; bathing in public; a frat house for wealthy ex slaves)
Vesuvius (volcano of doom, & bounty; ascent by bus, foot)

July 27 Mon:

Paestum (Poseidonia: mighty Greek temples, Lucanian tomb painting, Roman town planning)

July 28 Tues:

Baiae, Bacoli, Misenum: Western Edge of Naples Bay (Baian Baths, Piscina Mirabile: watery delights of the Roman ruling class; watery needs of the Roman poor & sailor)

July 29 Wed:

Pompeii: public life (Forum, theaters, baths, shops, brothels, temples), and private (housing for rich & poor, in town & "suburbia")

July 30 Thurs:

Boscoreale (Villa Regina: Roman farming, vine-tending)
Oplontis (Torre Annunziata: housing for an empress?)
Isle of Capri (by hydrofoil, from Naples Harbor: Emperors at play, and in self-imposed exile)

July 31 Fri:

Capri (Villa Jovis: Emperor Tiberius in ultimate retreat; and optional excursions: Blue Grotto, Villa San Michele, Monte Solaro chairlift...)

August 1 Sat:

Capri (at leisure on the island; late-day return to Villa Vergiliana)

August 2 Sun:

Capua (Museum, Amphitheater, Mithraeum: Etruscan metropolis, Samnite conquest, Romans take all)

August 3 Mon:

Naples (National Art Gallery of Capodimonte: Roman inspiration, & modern masterpieces)
Afternoon departure for Rome

Price: $2,595