Day at a glance:
- Morning – Pickup at port of Naples by AP Tours driver (AP tours offer a variety of excursions from several different ports from Amalfi to Livorno)
- Morning tour – Kid-friendly private Pompeii Tour with AP Tours
- Afternoon – Pizza-making class for families in Sorrento at Il Tirabuscio
Day in Detail:
Morning – Pickup at Naples port by AP Tours driver
AP Tours is a wonderful company to work with! We booked this family-friendly tour only a few weeks in advance and were so lucky they had availability for the day we requested. They offer a variety of private and shared experiences up and down the coast – with or without port pickup. Our driver, Arturo, was waiting for us at the port when we disembarked. You may think that the purpose of a good driver is to get you from point A to point B safely and comfortably. This is true. But once you have a driver like Arturo, you will be spoiled and want all tour van drivers to also be like a professor, comedian, babysitter, philosopher and BFF.
Tip – How do I find my driver/guide? In a cruise port, there will be a designated area where drivers wait with your name on a sign. Make sure the tour company has all your information including correct spelling of name and your phone number. Be sure to carry a contact number for the tour company and/or driver. Some ports are large with more than one terminal and you may be waiting in one terminal with your driver in another.
Morning tour – Private Pompeii Tour for Kids with AP Tours
If you have any concerns about whether your kids will enjoy Pompeii, you can stop worrying now. You will prepare them to enter an historic site with a poignant history – a town buried in an instant under volcanic ash and rock, frozen in time. They will dispense with those minor details when they realize Pompeii is like a real-life Minecraft world.
Little doorways lead to little houses; a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone paths meander endlessly; large flat boulders in the center of roads invite you to hop from one to the other (the purpose of which we learned was to help one avoid stepping on sewage in the street).
Lava rocks are everywhere. They are too tempting for kids not to pick up, toss, or put in pockets. My kids, who frame me regularly, asked me every few minutes to “hold” their precious finds. I would agree while nervously acknowledging I’m breaking some archeological preservation code. When there is nothing left of Pompeii, you can blame us.
While kids might think pillaging this maze-world is enough, to make your day really count, you will need a child-friendly guide to present the ancient history so they will find it just as fascinating as the physical site itself. Here is where AP Tours comes in!
Our guide, Daniella, wasted no time relating to my kids – letting them use an interactive app on her tablet that showed them what Pompeii looked like before it was a ruin.
Pompeii is so large that one could spend an entire day there, but Daniella led us to the sections of Pompeii that would be most interesting for the kids – favorites were the pizza ovens and the houses. We learned that pizza had no tomatoes at that time because they hadn’t made it to Europe yet. I can’t imagine an Italy without the sauce! We were also amazed to find out that take-out restaurants existed in Pompeii, which I’m assuming means there were Ancient Roman burned-out moms who couldn’t make dinner some nights.
The kids appreciated every facet of Pompeii with Daniella. There were new things to discover around every corner, and it didn’t hurt that absconding with lava rocks was possible to do while learning.
Our Pompeii tour concluded, and Arturo drove us along Sorrento’s breathtaking coast. We stopped at an overlook with stunning views. Arturo was happy to take family photos for us and even got my 4-year-old to look at the camera notwithstanding her post-car-nap funk.
We wound our way through the Sorrento streets lined with olive and lemon trees to our pizza-making class. We arrived at what in my mind is a quintessential Italian restaurant – the kind where when you walk in and see the red-checkered tablecloth, smell the brick oven and feel the amore, you are inclined to engage in a Lady and the Tramp spaghetti moment. In public view.
There were two long tables set for our family of 6 – a pizza prep table and a dining table, complete with wine and homemade flavored olive oil. We had 3 assistants for the 6 of us (Arturo must have tipped them off that we are a needy bunch). We each had our own set of ingredients to mix and after a few messy minutes, we had 6 lumpy yet beautiful dough balls.
What came next was probably the highlight of my entire trip. The dough toss! Picture a family with 4 young kids, covered in flour, nursing our dilapidated balls of dough, being told to flatten them out a bit and then toss them in the AIR! Arturo was there for all of this (since he was upgraded to family member) and grabbed my camera to record everything. Moms never get to be in the picture. I was not only in the picture, I was in the video…tossing pizza dough in the air and catching it and anxiously watching to see that everyone else’s landed in close proximity to the table.
I have to backtrack a minute here. Did I mention I thought I would be sitting this one out since I am gluten free? I think a tear rolled down my cheek when they brought me out my own gluten free ingredients. Caveat – gluten free dough balls are extremely unattractive.
We added toppings to our oblong pizzas and then got to watch Daddy put the pizzas in the oven with a giant wooden spatula.
Of course, the ultimate experience was eating our own pizzas. Plates were cleaned!
Just when we thought the afternoon couldn’t get any better, they brought us out to the terrace for the kids to assemble their own tiramisu dessert and gave me and my husband some homemade limoncello.
The family cooking class experience, the staff and the food far surpassed what we expected. I would recommend a visit to Italy just for this pizza-making class at Il Tirabuscio in the heart of beautiful Sorrento! And also to visit us since we moved in next door.