Rome, the Eternal City, has been in existence for more than 3,000 years. Rome was, for centuries, the center of the known world and it commanded a vast empire with control on three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa).
Aside from China, the Roman Empire is the longest lasting such polity on record, beginning in 264 BC and continuing down to the collapse of the Western Empire in 476 AD. As a result of its imperial past, the modern city of Rome is the largest archaeological park in the world. And this is why we have created such a comprehensive archaeological tour of Italy, delving into its rich Roman history.
Join Far Horizons on an 11-day archaeological tour of Rome in Italy, exploring the monuments of Rome’s ancient past, deeply embedded in the fabric of the modern city. The sites we visit are not only impressive in size and construction, but their endurance over the passing of time reveal the empire’s lasting influences on future generations.
Our quest to uncover the Roman past also takes us south where we visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites at Pompeii, Herculaneum and Paestum. Led by Professor Steven L. Tuck, lecturer for The Great Courses, this trip is not to be missed!
Continue reading to learn more about this Far Horizons adventure. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
Depart on a flight to Rome, Italy.
Upon arrival in Rome, transfer to the newly-opened DoubleTree by Hilton Rome Monti Hotel, our home for the next five nights. Located on Esquiline Hill within walking distance of the Colosseum, this fine establishment includes a terrace lounge overlooking Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore, the epitome of the Roman experience. After lunch on our own and some time to rest at the hotel, spend the afternoon on a walking tour of Campus Martius, the ancient center of civic life, especially during the Republican period. Begin at the Pantheon, the best-preserved building of ancient Rome, and then stop at the Column of Marcus Aurelius and Bernini’s exquisite Trevi Fountain. Our welcome dinner will be at one of Rome’s fine restaurants. (D)
Our stops today include three imposing sites. Begin at the remains of the Servian Wall, a defensive barrier constructed around the city of Rome. Although King Servius Tullius is credited with building the wall in the 6th century BC, archaeological evidence suggests that it actually dates to the 4th century BC. Continue to the Baths of Diocletian, the grandest of public baths in the Roman Empire built in 298 AD and dedicated eight years later. The sheer size of these baths is impressive, spanning more than 13 hectares, the structure can house up to 3,000 people at the same time. Finally, we spend the afternoon exploring the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme Museum. The collection housed in this 19th century, Neo-Renaissance palace includes frescoes and mosaics, coins and jewels that document the evolution of the Roman artistic culture from the late Republican age through late antiquity. (B/L/D)
Today we trace the history of Rome from its very origins on the top of the Palatine Hill. Said to be the cradle of Rome, the Palatine is the site of some very ancient remains, including traces of 10th century BC archaic houses. During the Republican era, this place was the preferred quarter for the ruling elite, and this tradition was continued when the Roman emperors built their palaces on the hill. Then it’s on to Circus Maximus, the largest stadium in ancient Rome measuring 2,037 feet in length and 387 feet in width. Chariot races were one of the Roman’s most popular forms of entertainment and in its fully developed form, Circus Maximus could accommodate approximately 150,000 spectators. Our final stop today is the Roman Forum, the political and economical center of the city during the Republic. The late afternoon and dinner are free to explore Rome on our own. (B/L)
We begin today at the Colosseum, one of the most impressive – and certainly the most iconic – buildings of ancient and modern Rome. Construction of this amphitheater began in 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus. The elliptical building is immense, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire, and was capable of seating more than 50,000 spectators. The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on classical mythology. Continue on to the Arch of Constantine, erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD. This afternoon, we will venture outside the city for a private tour of the excavations at Portus, Rome’s ancient imperial port. Constructed in the first century by Claudius, and enlarged by Trajan, it was the main harbor for Rome for more than 500 years. Return to the hotel this afternoon with dinner on our own. (B/L)
Continuing in our explorations of Rome, we spend this morning walking through the Capitoline Museums (both the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo). Inside we find treasures of ancient sculpture and paintings from the XIV to the XVII century by Caravaggio, Titian, Domenichino, and others. Our tour continues to Forum Boarium, the site of Ancient Rome’s cattle market, and the Theater of Marcellus, built in the closing years of the Roman Republic in 13 BC. The theater was named after Marcus Marcellus, who died five years before its completion, and is an impressive example of what was to become one of the most pervasive urban architectural forms of the Roman world. The history of the British School in Rome dates from 1901, when it was founded as a ‘school’ for research in archaeology and Italian studies. Built a century ago, the magnificent Edwin Lutyens-designed British Pavilion housing BSR occupies an elevated site in the Valle Giulia. This evening, we enter this elegant building to join the director for a talk, with aperitivo, on BSRs work and then dine with the archaeological staff. (B/L/D)
Enjoy a scenic drive as we travel south to Sorrento, the gateway to the famed Amalfi Coast. Before departing Rome we stop at the Baths of Caracalla, one of the finest examples of an ancient bath house in the Roman world capable of housing over 1,600 bathers at a time. Completed by Emperor Caracalla in 217 AD, the baths functioned for about 300 years, until the hydraulic installations were destroyed by invading Goths. Upon arrival to Sorrento we transfer to the Parco dei Principi Hotel, our home for the next three nights, overlooking the picturesque Gulf of Naples with the imposing profile of Mt. Vesuvius in the background. The afternoon is free to explore the sublime setting or relax poolside. Dinner is on our own. (B/L)
Our all day trip takes us south to Pompeii, once a flourishing port and prosperous resort, and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD buried Pompeii under cinders and ashes that preserved the many elegant villas – down to the fresh colors of the wall paintings. Rediscovered in 1748 and under excavation since that time, the houses have yielded rare and beautiful examples of Roman art. And the everyday life in Roman times have been revealed in great detail by the plan of the streets and footpaths, the statue-decorated public buildings, and the simple shops and homes of the artisans. Lunch will be on our own at the café located within the ruined city. Return to Sorrento in the late afternoon. (Note: Travel to and from Pompeii will be by local train.) (B/D)
Begin with a visit to the Naples National Archaeological Museum, containing one of the world’s finest collections of sculptures, wall paintings and mosaics from antiquity. Here we will see the Farnese marble Hercules, a colossal statue found in the Baths of Caracalla, and the exquisite Alexander’s Battle mosaic taken from nearby Pompeii. After exploring the impressive collection, it’s on to Herculaneum, also destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Unlike the more famous Pompeii, this city was covered rapidly by volcanic tuff that developed a cement-like consistency. The 50-60 foot layer of this hard material has meant that the excavations have been more difficult and thus, less has been uncovered. However, the findings are stunning, mainly because Herculaneum is thought to have been a luxurious seaside resort for wealthy Romans. The villas found here have proven to be even more elaborate than those of Pompeii. If available, we will meet with an archaeologist from the Herculaneum Graffitti Project and learn about the documentation of ancient inscriptions on site. Return to Sorrento and enjoy dinner at an elegant local restaurant overlooking the sea. (B/L/D)
Today we travel south to Paestum, or Poseidonia as the city was originally called, the finest remains of Greek architecture on mainland Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded by Greek colonist from Sybrais in 600 BC, the city fell under Roman control in 273 BC. It became an important trading port until the fall of the Roman Empire. Paestum is renowned for its three massive temples in Doric style – dedicated to Hera and Athena – dating from the first half of the 6th century BC. The National Museum onsite houses remains from the painted tombs of a small necropolis discovered just outside the city walls in 1968. The most famous of these frescos comes from the Tomb of the Diver and depicts an enigmatic scene of a young man diving into a stream of water. In the late afternoon, we drive to Naples and overnight at the Hotel Royal Continental, located on the scenic seafront promenade. Enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel. (B/L/D)
Transfer to the airport for the flight home. (B)
Price is based on double occupancy and includes:
Trip prices are based on a minimum number of participants. If this minimum number is not met, trip prices are subject to change. Should the prices need to change, Far Horizons will reach out to registered guests to discuss directly.
Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement must be charged.
As a tour company that benefits from the cultural and natural riches of our destinations, we have a policy of donating to the scientific and cultural sites and projects which we visit. This has created a bond between Far Horizons and the academic and local communities that has helped us establish an extensive list of lecturers and contacts in each of our destinations. We ask that each participant donate to the noteworthy project we designate. The donation amount is $150.00 per person. Note that the donation is required as part of your registration for the trip and that it is non-refundable.
Prices are based on currency exchange rates keeping below a projected level. While it is unlikely, if the exchange rates should change substantially, Far Horizons reserves the right to charge an additional amount to the trip cost.
A deposit of $1000 per person is required along with your registration & health forms, which will be linked in the email confirmation you receive once you pay your deposit on our booking platform. Final payment is due 120 days before departure. Prior to departure, you will be sent a reading list and a tour bulletin containing travel information.
Cancellations received in writing at least 120 days before departure will receive a refund less a $500 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received less than 120 days before the departure date will not receive a refund. If for any reason you are unable to complete the trip, Far Horizons will not reimburse any fees. Upon registering for the tour, the purchase of travel protection with both trip cancellation and emergency evacuation is strongly advised. Links to recommended insurance policies will be included in the email you receive confirming receipt of your deposit.
International round trip flights are not included in the cost of the trip. If Far Horizons must change the trip dates or cancel the trip for any reason, Far Horizons is not responsible for any air ticket you may have purchased. Please send your complete air schedule as soon as you have it. NOTE: Please contact Far Horizons if you would like for us to handle your air ticketing.
The private tours of archaeological sites and talks by specialists are scheduled in advance and include a donation to each. Specialists working at these sites are excited about showing their work to interested enthusiasts. However, please be aware that there may be times when the director or a member of the staff may not be on site when our groups arrive due to other commitments.
Far Horizons expects all participants to be physically active and able to walk and climb independently throughout the full touring days. This includes walking over uneven terrain (uphill and downhill) for a mile or more at each site. You should expect to be on your feet for much of each day, averaging 3-4 miles of walking. As such, each participant should be able to walk unaided at a pace of 3 miles per hour for at least half an hour at a time, and to stand unsupported for at least 30 minutes. Bearing this in mind, we suggest that, if you have not already done so, you begin walking for a mile or two every day. We feel that this preparation will increase your enjoyment of the trip. If you have questions about your ability to keep up with the group or the strenuous nature of this trip, please contact the Far Horizons staff.
This tour is designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. We have designed this trip to be as comfortable as possible, while also aiming to visit some remote or unique sites that other companies do not attempt to include in their itineraries. There may be days where we have very long drives and the conditions of the roads may vary. Hotels and transportation in some remote areas may not be up to western standards. There may be times when no bellhops are available; please pack with the understanding that you need to be able to handle your own luggage at times. At times we may be walking over uneven trails for a mile or more; hiking boots are strongly recommended. Not every meal will not be haute cuisine and several lunches may be picnics or box lunches. By maintaining a flexible attitude we will soon be captivated by the beauty of the natural scenery, the hospitality of the local people, and the fascinating sites we will see. Your flexibility and patience will be appreciated.
Changes in our itinerary, accommodations, and transportation schedules may occur. While we are committed to keeping as close to the published details as possible, sometimes it is simply not possible. Weather events, government affairs, or other factors out of our control sometimes come into play. A good book to read as well as patience, flexible attitude, and a sense of humor are essential.