Bare Bones | Insiders' Rome
How well do you know the wondrous sights of Rome? Away from the crowds of the Colosseum, leaving the coach-loads of tourists behind, one can discover a city of secret places, submerged sites, and captivating stories. You just need to know where to look. Join us to view a side of Rome that most travellers – and even most Romans – rarely see: underground elite homes and a basilica, hidden from human eyes for almost two millennia; formerly bustling guardrooms in ancient city walls; catacombs that have housed saints and pagans alike. With an expert guide to shine a light on Rome’s little-known past, you will discover the gems of the Vatican, the delights of the Appian Way and recently excavated buildings. You will also
enjoy an abundance of free time for your own personal adventures – whether that be further sightseeing, time perusing the capital’s boutiques, or a break to savour a glass of regional wine as the world goes by.
- Unlock secret rarely-visited sites and enjoy a guided tour of the Vatican Museums
- Walk down the Appian Way as the Romans once did
- Private visit to the majestic Porta Asinaria
- Great Cities
- Just One Hotel
After checking into our hotel, we have a late afternoon walk around the Campus Martius, taking in monuments from the Republican era. We explore the 4th to 2nd century BC temples in the Largo di Torre Argentina, standing close to the spot where Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March. We then stroll through the Campo de’ Fiori, which, in the Renaissance, was home to merchants and inns, including one owned by Vannozza dei Cattanei, the mother of Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia. Here, in these winding streets, we will find the remains of Pompey’s theatre and stand where Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake. The evening is yours for you to enjoy Rome’s culinary treasures.
We take taxis to the Basilica of St. John Lateran, where we have an appointment to explore a plethora of ancient remains buried under the Papal basilica, including dwellings, defensive works and a Constantinian church. We then have another private visit to a nearby site, namely the Porta Asinaria, an imposing day by day third century gateway with massive ballista towers and guardrooms. This afternoon we explore the Porta Maggiore, a monumentalised section of two aqueducts built by the emperor Claudius, which affords far and away the best understanding of aqueducts in the city. We turn the corner to view the wonderfully pompous tomb of Eurysaces the baker, a former slave who monumentalised his new found wealth.
Prepare for an extraordinary morning at the Vatican City, as our guide leads us through its staggering collection of artworks, and culminating with an in-depth exploration of the Sistine Chapel. The afternoon is entirely free for you to spend at your leisure. Perhaps see Emperor Hadrian’s mighty fortress, Castel Sant’Angelo – another papal highlight – or even take a tranquil stroll along the River Tiber.
After breakfast we head to the Catacombs of St Sebastian, famed not only for Christian burials but also Castel Sant’Angelo for 2nd century pagan tombs, some of which are painted. We continue along the Appian Way, one of the earliest strategic roads leading out of the city, to the Circus of Maxentius, the most intact hippodrome in Rome and one of the few in existence with surviving starting gates. Not far from the circus, we admire the tomb of Caecilia Metella, the most impressive mausoleum on the Appian Way, built to honour the daughter-in-law of Marcus Licinius Crassus, the triumvir. Finally, we stroll down the ancient road to the Villa di Capo di Bove, once owned by Herodes Atticus.
We end the tour on a high point, with a visit to the Palazzo Valentini, whose foundations beneath hide senatorial houses and a gigantic collapsed column, which once belonged to the long lost Temple of Trajan. This afternoon, choose to fly home or extend your stay.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - Breakfast only
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
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