A family reunites in Southern Italy

The vast majority of the 4 million Italians who migrated to America in mass migration at the end of 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries came from the Mezzogiorno in southern Italy. Their descendants have spread throughout the U.S. especially the Northeast. As heritage travel has surged in popularity in recent years, our preferred partner Lush Experiences has put together this sample itinerary exploring Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and family history.

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Imagine your children are getting older and you want to give them the opportunity to explore their Neapolitan background, possibly meet some distant relatives. As your NS Destinations Travel advisor thinks about connecting you with relatives in Italy, you gather as much information as you can and your advisor reaches out to Privilege Italia to take advantage of its Italian Ancestry program. Working in the “family business” all their lives, Mario and Francesco Staiano are the owners of Privilege Italia, and as cousins truly understand the importance of your roots, and the impact that connection with your heritage means.

Tracing Your Roots

Through extensive research, Privilege Italia traces your family’s lineage and discovers your family came from a small town in Campania, just outside of Napoli. Privilege Italia finds relatives who still live in this town, a true Italian journey takes root. Privilege Italia then crafts an itinerary that let your family experience the authenticity of the region through the eyes of your relatives, from understanding the culture and treasures of the historic city of Napoli to a walk through the mysteries of Pompeii.

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The journey begins in Napoli, where your driver takes you to your home in the very heart of the city, the Virtuoso-preferred Romeo Hotel Napoli. Across from the port on the Bay of Naples, the Romeo is the ideal location to explore the city and the islands of Capri, Ischia and Ponza. Your family ascends to the top-floor Beluga Bistrot and Terrace for a welcome cocktail toast with commanding views of the bay and Mt. Vesuvius. After an afternoon of relaxing poolside, you meet your newfound relatives for a very special dinner at the hotel’s Michelin-starred Il Comandante restaurant. An evening filled with laughs and authentic Neapolitan cuisine by Chef Salvatore Bianco ensues as the family reunites.

Exploring Napoli’s Rich Culture

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The next day you take a light walking tour to discover the city and your Neapolitan roots. Your expert guide takes you past imposing fortresses and castles along the water to the famed Pantheon-styled Basilica, with plenty of time to admire the Greek columns and beautiful sculptures and paintings inside. You pass museums, cafes and countless monuments that reflect a 3,000-year melting pot. The final stop is the Naples National Archaeological Museum. Enter this converted 17th-century palace to spend the afternoon studying prehistoric artifacts, coins and ancient works of art, as your guide shares the stories behind them. This serves as the perfect primer for the next day’s activity, a trip to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast.

Before leaving Napoli, you venture out of the city to your ancestral hometown, sharing a meal at a local restaurant with your new Italian family.

Pompeii & the Amalfi Coast

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The next morning, you say goodbye to the Romeo and Napoli and depart for the picturesque Amalfi Coast and the Virtuoso-preferred Hotel Santa Caterina. On the way, enjoy a guided tour of the famed archeological ruins of Pompeii, located just 30 minutes from the hotel. After a morning walking in the sun with your expert, it is time to cross over the mountain to the Amalfi Coast.

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Once you arrive at the edge of Amalfi town and the dramatic location of the Santa Caterina, you are instantly in awe. Owned and operated by the same family for over 110 years, the hotel is a symbol of relaxed luxury on the Amalfi Coast. Walking across the hand-painted ceramic tile floors of the lobby, you are drawn to the outdoor terrace overlooking the perennial blue of the Mediterranean Sea and sky. It’s the perfect place for a welcome cocktail while your family is mesmerized by the view of the town and the beautiful waters. A casual dinner at the hotel’s seafront restaurant, Al Mare, gives you a taste of the sea and goes perfectly with the extensive wine menu with the sound of the waves crashing below.

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The next morning you take a walking tour of the charming town, filled with authentic ceramic shops, and of course, the famous limoncello made with local lemons. The highlight is a walk up the steps to the beautiful Amalfi Cathedral in the main square. Back at the hotel, relax by the sea-front pool, take in a signature spa treatment, walk through the gardens or enjoy the view from the terrace. With one final meal at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, it is time to say goodbye and close the chapter on an incredible Italian journey of discovery.