Rome History & Classics Tour
School History and Classics Trip to Rome
Rome - the Eternal city - is the very embodiment of the ancient world and the city is a living museum with archaeological ruins and treasures at every turn. The Colosseum and the Roman Forum are of course the most prominent and most recognisable of these but there are many other sites to explore both within the city walls and outside. The ancient catacombs along the via Appia provide a link to early Christianity in the Roman Empire while the extensive ruins at Ostia Antica reveal the city's ancient port. The opulence of the Emperors can be seen in the ruins of Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli while further afield the Etruscan civilisation can be discovered at Tarquinia.
The itinerary featured here is intended to give you inspiration and an idea of what you could do on your tour. Your trip will be created individually by one of our travel advisors to match your requirements and budget.
Flight to Rome. Historic Centre Walking Tour
Flight to Rome: On arrival you are met at the airport by our guide and private coach and transfer to your central hotel.
Historic Centre Walking Tour: After lunch you have a guided walking tour of the historic centre taking in all the famous sights. You start at the Spanish Steps and soon reach the Trevi where it is traditional to toss a coin into the fountain to ensure a return to the Eternal City. You next cross the Via del Corso, one of Rome’s principal shopping streets, and soon reach the Pantheon which was built by the Emperor Hadrian and later converted to a church. The tour continues to the wonderful Piazza Navona where you can try the world famous tartufo ice cream. You walk through the maze of narrow streets and cross the River Tiber via the Ponte Sant’Angelo, in the shadow of the vast Castel Sant Angelo and finally arrive at the Vatican and St. Peters Square.
You return to your hotel and dinner this evening at a city restaurant.
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica
Vatican Museums: This morning you have a guided tour of the Vatican Museums which house one of the most impressive collections of archaeology in the world. Highlights of the tour include the magnificent Gallery of Maps, a stunning collection of frescoes which date from 1580 and depict in glorious colour the Pope’s dominions. The centrepiece is undoubtedly Michelangelo’s extraordinary ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
St. Peter’s Basilica: You continue to St. Peter’s Basilica where there are many treasures and artworks including the famous Pieta sculpture by Michelangelo. At the altar you see Bernini’s magnificent Baldachin and his final masterpiece, the Monument to Pope Alexander VII, surrounded by the allegorical statues of Justice, Prudence, Charity and Truth, with the Angel of Death holding up the curtains over the Door to Eternity. The tombs of the exiled Stuart monarchs can also be seen, including that of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and in the crypt, you see the tombs of many former Popes stretching back hundreds of years.
Afternoon and Evening: The afternoon will be free for you to explore Rome on your own and dinner this evening will be a city centre restaurant.
Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Vittorio Emanuele Monument
Colosseum & Forum: This morning you visit Rome’s most famous sight where gladiators fought. Leaving the Colosseum, you pass by the Arch of Constantine and enter the ruins of the Roman Forum, with its many temples, basilicas, and triumphal arches. This was the place where ordinary Romans would have lived, worked, and traded.
Palatine Hill: Above the forum explore the Palatine Hill where the ruins of its ancient palaces were once the home of Emperors and the site of temples. Today the Palatine Hill is cloaked in beautiful cypress trees and wildflower meadows.
Lunch: There will be time for lunch near the Colosseum where there are many options.
Vittorio Emanuele Monument: At Piazza Venezia you can see the dazzling white marble of the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, the Altar of the Fatherland. This was built in the late 19th century as a memorial to Italy’s unifying Monarch, and now incorporates the memorial to Italy’s unknown soldier. Take the elevator to the top for a spectacular view across the city.
Dinner this evening will be a city centre restaurant.
Capitoline Museum, Jewish Quarter and Campo di Fiore
Capitoline Museum: This morning you head to the Capitoline and can ascend Michelangelo’s graceful Cordonata stairway leading to Piazza Campidoglio atop the Capitoline Hill. This has been the heart of Rome since ancient times and is now home to the eponymous Museum. The superb Capitoline collection includes the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, a copy of which has now been returned to its original position in the square, as well as the Etruscan Bronze She-Wolf and many important sculptures from the Roman Empire, as well as Renaissance art works including Caravaggio’s John the Baptist.
Jewish Quarter: This afternoon you explore the historic Jewish Quarter where you guide will explain the dark history of this area. In 1555 the Pope issued a Bull removing most rights from Jews and requiring them to relocate to a small area which was walled in and locked at night. This became the Jewish Ghetto and was only formally abolished in 1882. Indeed, it was the last in Europe until the rise of the Nazis. A plaque in the Ghetto commemorates the date of 16 October 1943 when the city’s Jews were forcibly deported.
Campo di Fiore: You continue to Campo di Fiore, one of Rome’s most famous market squares, offering a chance to see today’s Romans going about their everyday lives. Campo di Fiore literally means Field of Flowers and there is still a flower market here to this day although replica Roma and Lazio football shirts provide a more lucrative trade for the market stalls.
Dinner this evening will be a city centre restaurant.
Circus Maximus, Aventine Hill, Catacombs and Flight Home
Circus Maximus: This morning you visit the Circus Maximus, the vast arena where Roman chariot races took place. Situated between the Palatine and Aventine Hills it was original laid out in the 6th century BC but took its distinctive appearance during the reign of Julius Caesar.
Aventine Hill: Adjacent to the Circus Maximus is the Aventine Hill, one of seven that the city is built on. You visit the beautiful Aranci Gardens where there is a spectacular viewpoint across the city.
Catacombs of St. Sebastian: You travel outside the city walls where you can see the old Roman Road of the Appian Way which linked Rome with Brindisi on the Adriatic. Along the Appian way are several ancient Christian catacombs which were used by early Christians for burials from the second century AD. As Christianity spread in Rome, its early followers were persecuted by the Roman authorities. They therefore buried their dead outside the city in underground chambers to protect the graves from Roman desecration. The remains of these tombs are the catacombs, underground burial complexes dug by man and usually hewn into solid rock. The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian, located below the Basilica of San Sebastian, is one of Rome’s many burial complexes. You will see a variety of burial chambers including those during the pagan period.
Flight Home: In the afternoon you transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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