Rome and Southern Italy Tour
Tour Rome and Southern Italy including stops at Pompeii, Sorrento, Herculaneum, Naples and Paestum
With Professor Thomas F.X. Noble
May 21 – 31, 2023
Why travel on Far Horizons’ Tour to Italy?
Led by The Great Courses lecturer, Professor Thomas F. X. Noble
- Hosted by the archaeological staff for a lecture and dinner party at the British School in Rome
- Five full days exploring Rome and its museums
Private tour at Herculaneum with an archaeologist working there
- Private access to Portus, Rome’s ancient harbor, with an archaeologist working there
- Five UNESCO World Heritage Sites
(click to enlarge)
Rome & Southern Italy – Daily Itinerary
Day 1: Depart the USA.
Day 2: Arrive Rome. Campus Martius.
Day 3: Roman Forum. Palantine Hill. Circus Maximus.
Day 4: Baths of Diocletian. Servian Wall.
Day 5: Coliseum. Arch of Constantine. Imperial Fora.
Day 6: Capitoline Museums. Theater of Marcellus.
Day 7: Baths of Caracalla.
Day 8: Pompeii.
Day 9: Naples Archaeological Museum. Herculaneum.
Day 10: Paestum.
Day 11: Fly back to the USA.
Rome, the Eternal City, has been in existence for more than 3,000 years. The ancient city of 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 West in 476 AD. As a result of its imperial past, the modern city of Rome is the largest archaeological park in the world.
Join Far Horizons on an 11-day itinerary to explore 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 Thomas F.X. Noble, lecturer for The Great Courses (formerly The Teaching Company), this trip is not to be missed!
Rome & Southern Italy Tour Leader
Thomas F. X. Noble received his MA in History and Latin and his PhD in Medieval History from Michigan State University. He is presently Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. A popular speaker for The Great Courses (formerly The Teaching Company), Professor Noble is a lecturer on ten different series including the 48 lecture course, The Foundations of Western Civilization. Dr. Noble is the author, coauthor, or editor of 10 books and has published more than 40 articles, chapters, and essays including From Roman Provinces to Medieval Kingdoms, and his coauthored textbook, Western Civilization: The Continuing Experiment, which is in its 5th edition. Professor Noble has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and research grants from the American Philosophical Society. He has been the invited speaker at many national and international conferences including in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Scotland. Dr. Noble was the recipient of the Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Award for Excellence in Teaching from Notre Dame, and was awarded the Alumni Distinguished Professor Award and a David Harrison III Award for outstanding undergraduate advising, both from the University of Virginia.
‘Tom Noble lived up to all my expectations. His excitement in explaining the history of this island was infectious. He would be a plus on any European tour as his knowledge and delivery is superb.’ – John Gelhausen (He traveled to Sicily with Tom Noble)
‘Tom Noble’s love of geometric pottery is contagious. He became one of our group and a friend to all. I would enjoy traveling with Tom on another tour.’ – Judy Guenther
Rome & Southern Italy Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Depart the USA for an overnight flight to Rome, Italy.
Day 2: 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)
Day 3: 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)
Day 4: 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)
Day 5: 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)
Day 6: 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)
Day 7: 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)
Day 8: 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)
Day 9: 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)
Day 10: 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)
Day 11: Transfer to the airport for the international flight back to the USA. (B)
$10,295.00 (per person, double occupancy) includes all ground transportation; all hotels; most meals (as noted in brochure); gratuities to guides and drivers; and entry fees. Price is based upon the exchange rate for the Euro not going over 1.10. If the value of the Euro increases, the price of the trip may go up.
Single Supplement: $2,555.00. Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement will be charged.
Cost does not include: International airfare, a separate $150 per person donation check made out to the ’British Schools & Universities Foundation’; airport transfers for flights other than designated group flights; meals other than those listed in the itinerary; food, alcoholic and other beverages not on set menus; passport and visa fees; airport fees and taxes; excess baggage charges; necessary vaccines and tests; email, telephone, and fax charges; laundry or other items of a personal nature.
Donation Checks: 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 projects and museums we visit. We ask that each participant write a check to the noteworthy project we designate. The donation amount is $150.00 per person and is made by check directly to the donation project. Note that the donation is required as part of your registration for the trip and that it is non-refundable. For this trip we have designated The British School at Rome (and their excavations at Portus) as the donation project. In order to assure that your $150 per person donation checks are tax-deductible, we request that you make them out to the ‘British Schools & Universities Foundation’ with ‘for BSR’ in the memo line. Please mail these checks to the Far Horizons office prior to your departure and we will send them collectively to the foundation.
A deposit of $750 per person is required along with your registration form. Final payment is due 120 days before departure. Upon receipt of your deposit and completed registration form, you will be sent a reading list and a tour bulletin containing travel information. Prior to the trip, we will send links to various websites of pertinent interest. Click here to download our Registration Form.
Cancellations received in writing at least 120 days before departure will receive a refund less a $450 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. Insurance recommended by Far Horizons can be reviewed by clicking HERE.
International flights are not included in the cost of the trip. If you do not arrive or depart on the scheduled days, you are responsible for all transportation (including airport transfers) to join the group. 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.
Private Tours of Archaeological Sites
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.
The group will be walking into and around cities and archaeological sites extensively. All participants must be physically active and able to walk independently for distances that may exceed three miles or more each day. Keeping up with the group is each participant’s responsibility; please do not expect assistance from the other group members or staff. You will be on your feet for much of the day. The hotel for five nights in Rome is located in a predominately pedestrian area and thus, when we use a bus as our means of transport, we will have to walk a few blocks to our pick-up/drop-off location. This hotel was chosen in part due to its central location, so some of our tour days will be by foot only. Additionally, on the day that we go to Pompeii, we will not have a coach/bus. We will walk 15mins to/from the Sorrento train station and use the local train to arrive directly at the Pompeii excavations.
This Archaeological Tour to Italy is limited to 14 participants