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For those who have seen Rome before and want to go beyond the main sites, or see some of what’s new, we offer the perfect way to extend your stay in Italy. This exhilarating tour allows you to encounter some of Rome’s great archaeological sites away from the main routes, brings you some of her finest and most impressive museums, and takes you to areas even at the centre that have been newly excavated or extended. Here, with our usual carefully chosen fine dining and great wines, with expert guides by your side, is the best way to make sure that your next visit to Rome isn’t the same as your last.
As with all our Rome tours, we’ll give you a full appreciation of the city’s history and culture. You’ll encounter the vast edifices of the Roman emperors, even the streets of the ancient city. You’ll see some of the greatest collections of ancient art and architecture, from some of the largest and most breathtaking Roman mosaics and reliefs beset with a myriad of figures, to some of the finest celebrated bronze sculpture in the world set amidst unforgettable and surprising backdrops.
The glories of medieval, Renaissance and early modern Rome are a rich part of our story, and you’ll find plenty of places to immerse yourself in their unsurpassed brilliance. After seeing the sumptuously rich collection of the Villa Borghese in its beautiful parkland and the opulent and towering church of St John Lateran, you’ll see why papal Rome breathed authority and power both politically and artistically and drew pilgrims from around the world. At the serene Protestant Cemetery, you’ll find where some of the more famed of them found rest, nestling incongruously under an ancient Roman pyramid, contrasting the calm atmosphere of this pretty space with the touching subterranean memorials of the early Christian catacombs. From beneath the city to the heights of its great towers and domes, accompanied by authoritative admirers of this fantastic place, there’s no more rewarding and enjoyable way to expand your acquaintance with Eternal Rome.
Day 1: Arrival and transfers to our hotel, located in the city’s heart.
Day 2: We begin with one of the most extraordinary remnants of the ancient city, right in its centre but so easily missed, the Markets of Trajan. Hidden in plain sight, this remains one of the most unusually well-preserved structures from the Roman era, and the best place in the city itself to feel what the Roman city felt like to walk through. Here, you can enter through ancient doorways, climb flights of Roman stairs and walk around an imperial Roman streetscape and shops from the second century – a Pompeian experience at the heart of the modern city. Within, there’s a fine museum of the rich architectural finds from our next site, the great imperial forums. Built over a period of nearly 200 years to expand space for public business and to celebrate the emperors, these sprawled beyond the ancient Forum Romanum and included the most colossal and lavish buildings of the city of the emperors, and some of its largest temples. Previously visible only distantly, new excavations and increased access have transformed this brilliant site, allowing you a close-up view of the massive temple of Mars Ultor, the huge Basilica Ulpia and a true sense of the majesty of the site with the rich colours of its marble-shard pavements.
After a splendid lunch we take you to one of Rome’s jewels, the stupendous Terme museum. Easily passed-by, this is one of the finest collections of Roman material anywhere in the world, home to some dizzyingly beautiful mosaics, the famed full length bronzes of the Terme Ruler and the battered, pugnacious boxer as well as the magnificent Portonaccio sarcophagus, swarming with figures locked in combat, eloquently symbolic of a Roman world under threat but triumphing, and a superb cap to a day of continuous delights to the senses.
Day 3: A morning that opens with the Baths of Caracalla is not to be missed. A vast palace for the Roman people, still reaching the fractured yet still mighty red arms of its battered barrel vaults against the deep blue Roman sky, it remains one of the most picturesque sites in Rome, impressive alike for its gargantuan size as for the ethereal and ever-changing beauty of the shapes the ruins create as you pass through its vast halls and their sweeping mosaics, alternately deep-hued or black-and-white and famously populated with grimacing dolphins or powerful bulls. Not far away, we come to one of Rome’s more unusual museum settings at the phenomenal Centrale Montemartini. The objects here are brilliant in themselves – it’s a great collection of sculpture, has an extraordinary and huge mosaic and a great collection of material from the Roman Republic, but it’s the space that really distinguishes this museum: it’s housed in an old power station, and the sculptures are framed by turbines, gantries and control panels. This sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it makes the Montemarini one of the most exciting and seductive of Rome’s museums. We complete a fine day by returning to a more traditional, but very beautiful setting, the Galleria Borghese, housed in the Villa Borghese, itself surrounded by Rome’s greatest city park. Within, you’ll be treated to fine sculptures by Canova and the taut power of Bernini’s David, and witness a splendid array of paintings – Raphaels, Titians, Caravaggios – in a transcendent collection.
Day 4: We travel a little way out of the city centre to one of Rome’s greatest archaeological treasures, the catacombs of San Sebastiano. Lying beneath an early, but much rebuilt church on the city’s margins, these deeply-delved tunnels, wending their way sinuously through the dark rock, mark the burials of thousands of Rome’s early Christians, resting in small niches in the walls, or in larger tombs as the tunnels open out, some retaining their paint over fifteen hundred years later, the complex ends with three magnificent painted pagan Roman tombs, all of them bringing you intimately close to the ancient Romans. We come back into Rome to the Protestant Cemetery near the city’s walls for another personal connection, this time with some of our predecessors as pilgrims to this great city, and with some famed participants in its history. Here, in a placid walled retreat from the hubbub outside, you’ll find Keats, Shelley, Gramsci and others, with the bright white and surprising ancient Roman burial pyramid of Cestius showing a long continuity at this pretty site. Finally, we take you to the great church of St John Lateran, the senior church in Rome. Layer upon layer of the city’s papal history are painted, carved and gilded here. We have the Roman baptistery, dating as far back as Constantine himself and the massive bronze doors – by themselves one of the most impressive sites in Rome – taken from the ancient Senate house, there are the tombs of mediaeval popes and Gothic carvings right through to the beautiful interior decoration by Borromini, not to mention the towering ancient Egyptian obelisk outside. One of the greatest of Rome’s churches, and a fine route into the sweep of the city’s whole history, it’s a superb way to finish our trip before a delectable final meal.
Day 5: Departures.
Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport – Athens International (Eleftherios Venizelos)
Departure Airport – Athens International (Eleftherios Venizelos)
Check in time at your hotel in Athens is after 14:00 so we recommend choosing a flight that arrives in the afternoon/early evening. Check out time is 12:00pm. We will arrange local transfers from Athens Airport and to Athens airport on the first and last day of the tour.
The cheapest way to book flights is directly with the airline online.
If you prefer to book with a travel agent, we are happy to recommend specialists in a number of countries around the world, please contact our office for more details.
Travel insurance is a requirement of our booking conditions and we recommend you investigate the options thoroughly to make sure that your trip is properly covered. Please be advised some insurers may require you to take out a policy within 15-20 days of booking your holiday to receive all of their insurance benefits.
Citizens of European Union member states, the United States, Canada and Australia do not need to apply for a visa to visit Greece for trips of less than 90 days duration.