Bare Bones | Essential Rome
The shaping of Rome has taken millennia, and to understand in its entirety needs several lifetimes. We offer you the best of the Eternal City, for a full and fascinating introduction with our own expert Guide Lecturer. This brilliantly comprehensive tour features guided walks, some private transport and expert-led visits to a range of sites, from world-renowned monuments like the Colosseum and the Pantheon, to more enigmatic ones, like the Mithraea beneath the Circus Maximus and San Clemente. We are offering you the highlights of archaeological Rome in just five days and hope you will want to return to experience more.
- Visit the Mithraeum under the Circus Maximus, an atmospheric underground temple accessed by appointment only
- Explore San Clemente, where we see hidden Roman houses
- Walk through Trajan’s markets, a Roman shopping centre
- Great Cities
- Just One Hotel
On arrival in Rome, you will meet the Guide Lecturer at the hotel. We then embark on a guided walk of the Campus Martius, an area of Rome shaped by successive emperors. Starting at the unique Pantheon, so influential to Renaissance architects, we stroll to the Temple of Hadrian, which still survives despite being pillaged for centuries, and finally to Piazza Navona, once Domitian’s stadium, by way of Marcus Aurelius’ column. The evening is yours to choose a dinner in one of Rome’s many restaurants.
After breakfast, private taxis transport us to the Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre ever built. Here we enjoy its impressive interiors, which are thought to have held audiences of up to 50,000 spectators for gladiatorial combats. On to the neighbouring Arch of Constantine, a wonderful collage of artwork from previous imperial monuments. In the afternoon we explore the nearby Roman Forum, the heart of Rome where so much history was shaped. We then climb the neighbouring Palatine Hill, once covered by imperial palaces. Walking back to our hotel, we see the Imperial Fora, built by many of Rome’s emperors.
Another taxi ride this morning, this time through the Forum Boarium to the Circus Maximus, where 150,000 Romans would cheer on their favourite charioteers. After walking through the ancient race track, we head underneath it to visit the Mithraeum, a cavernous temple to a Persian god whose cult took the Roman empire by storm. In the afternoon, our expert guide will bring antiquity to life, by exploring Santa Maria in Cosmedin, where ancient dole was distributed, the largely intact republican temples of Portunus and Hercules Victor, and finally the Theatre of Marcellus, Augustus’ nephew.
This morning starts with Trajan’s forum and in particular, the breath-taking Column, which depicts the emperor’s Dacian campaigns. We also see the Markets, built for Trajan by the ground-breaking architect Apollodorus of Damascus, in order to give Roman citizens a grander shopping area to buy goods from all over the empire. We end the morning with a visit to the Capitoline Museum, one of the oldest known museums in the world and home to the Capitoline Wolf and Dying Gaul. The afternoon is yours to shape as you want: you can walk down to the Baths of Caracalla, or the Ara Pacis or walk through the city to explore its secrets.
Our final morning is spent exploring the awesome Basilica of San Clemente, a medieval church whose foundations were excavated by the Irish Dominican priest, Fr. Joseph Mullooly, revealing two different layers of history, a medieval church and a Roman Mithraeum. Our tour ends this afternoon, choose to extend your stay or to fly home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Local Travel - Private a/c Coach
- Meals - Breakfast only
- Entries & tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included