Best of Greater Rome Tour 2019-2020

A 8 day trip to Italy 
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When in Rome, the entire world melts away. Enchanting frescoes decorate ancient church walls. Sculptures adorn villa gardens. The scent of espresso lingers in the morning air, and the aroma of freshly made pasta drifts through the streets in the afternoon. Your custom tailored 2019-2020 tour encompasses the brilliance of Rome, from the iconic museums to the secluded hideaways locals prefer. Visit the countryside escape of popes and wander the preserved boulevard of ancient Rome’s once bustling port. From cuisine to history, culture to landscape, Rome will entice you with its opulence, which spans more than two millennia. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Rome, Lago di Albano, Ostia Antica, Tivoli 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departure.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Rome – Entering the Eternal City

Rome is a city of intrigue and enchantment, filled with thousands of years of history and brimming with contemporary luxuries embodied in the flavorful cuisine. Your flight lands at Fiumicino Airport, where your private transfer awaits your arrival. Once in the heart of the city, you have settled into the beauty of the central Rome and the charming tree-lined boulevard outside your hotel. Your room feels like a palatial apartment, embellished with baroque artwork and lavish vases, framing your view of the city’s rooftops.

Your guide meets you in the lobby, eager to escort you on an all-encompassing introductory tour of the city, taking in the fabulous baroque piazzas and the detailed fountains for which the city is known. Your tour ends at the rushing water of the Trevi Fountain. The famous 18th-century fountain was crafted under the patronage of Pope Clement XII and built against the rear wall of a historic palace. The statues depict the sea god Oceanus towering above his horses and shells. The water cascades over the rocks, swirling beneath the gazing figures of the basin. You grab a coin, turn your back to the fountain, and throw the coin over your left shoulder. You hear the splash, which indicates you are destined to return.  

What’s Included: dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Rome – Bringing Ancient Rome to Life

The wonders of Ancient Rome abound along the streets of the city, rising above the cobbled lanes and, in some places, sinking beneath the contemporary grounds with views to the foundations of former temples. Your guide meets you in the morning, ready to reveal the depths of the remaining architecture and artistry of Roman life beginning at the Roman Forum. The four-storied frame of the Colosseum towers above Palatine Hill, but the images of the heart of the Roman Republic and Empire at the Roman Forum continues to captivate visitors from around the world. Art, law, expression, and religion radiated from the grounds on which you walk, spanning the millennia and informing the cultural evolution of Western Civilization.

The Via Sacra leads you to the steps of Temple of Antoninus Pius, erected in the 2nd century AD to honor the deified Empress Faustina. The six Corinthian columns adorning the façade remain from the original construction. The scent of rich earth overtakes the herbaceous aroma of the lush trees growing around the grounds. In the afternoon, you meet your local cooking instructor for a unique type of class, learning to recreate the ancient diet of Roman citizens. Your guide explains the vast difference in what is considered traditional Italian cuisine versus historically Roman cuisine, which did not use ingredients such as basil, garlic, or tomatoes. Instead, you use a spice known as asafetida, which provides a smooth flavor in your chicken and fruit ragout, akin to leeks.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Vatican City – A Church’s Wealth

Rome holds a tranquil atmosphere in the morning. University students set out on the Tiber River on rowboats, fighting the gentle current upstream. The façade of the Castel Sant’Angelo shimmers with gold in the spreading morning light. Your guide greets you in the hotel lobby after breakfast and escorts you to the remarkable open-air museum of St. Peter’s Square. Cobblestones pave the distinctively designed piazza, crowned by the elaborate dome of the basilica. The striking figure rises to a height of 390 feet. The basilica was erected between the 16th and 18th centuries over the foundations of a 4th-century church.

A fragmented mosaic decorates the metope above the doorway, designed by famous artist Giotto. You walk through the bronze double doors and find the semi-sweet aroma of myrrh wafting over the pews in the nave. Your guide leads you to the right to find Michelangelo’s famous Pieta. The master sculptor created the work at the age of 24 at the end of the 15th century. The work depicts a youthful Mary cradling the body Jesus. The intricate details of the bodies, mixed with the soft expression of Mary, create a powerful image. Following your tour of the Vatican, you make your way to a small piazza framed by a historic palace. You enter a bright gelateria to taste the variety of flavors offered by one of the most popular local makers in Rome. Although the samples vary in taste, each sample contains the same luscious, creamy texture for which the sweet treat is known. 

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Ostia Antica – As the Romans Have Done

The sweet fragrance of fresh flowers drifts from the display tables along Campo di Fiori’s morning market. The bright petals of pink, purple, blue, and yellow flowers grab the wandering eyes of passersby. Your private guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you outside of Rome to the former port city of Ostia Antica, which covers nearly 10,000 acres. In the heyday of the Roman Empire, the streets were crowded with people from around the known world, whether visitors, sailors, or merchants. The Tyrrhenian Sea once brushed against the edges of the city, but now the shoreline stands nearly three miles away. The city was founded in the 4th century BC at the mouth of Tiber River.

At its peak, 50,000 people resided inside the city limits. The soil contains an aroma of rich minerals. Lush trees fill the open spaces and add verdant life to the cold rosy stone. Your guide leads you along the remains of the cobbled streets to find a well-preserved outline of Ostia Antica’s former grandeur. The Baths of Neptune was once a large facility serving a social and hygienic function. Mosaic floors depicting sea monsters, fish, and mermaids decorate the bathhouse. The terrace leads you to the northeast corner where your guide points out the heating system that once regulated the temperatures of the waters. The streets of Ostia provide a different view of antiquity, filled with similar pomposity as Rome, but allowing you a more serene experience with the historic remains. 

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Tivoli – Once in the Villa

In the morning, you indulge in the aroma of fresh cappuccino that nearly overtakes the city. Before work, Romans take the time to sip the semi-sweet frothy drink beneath the shade cast by café umbrellas. After breakfast, you venture less than 20 miles outside of Rome into the Sabine Hills. The River Aniene carved a remarkable ravine into the limestone ridge where the town of Tivoli stands. The cool air highlands brought nobility out of Rome eager to escape the heat of the city in summer, including Emperor Augustus. The outline of the Rocca Pia castle rises above the surrounding structures. Pope Pius II erected the edifice to remind the often-rebellious citizens of Tivoli about the region’s papal authority.

The drawbridge leads visitors to the ramparts, which provides exceptional views of Tivoli. You visit the stunning complex of the 1st-century villa, erected under the patronage of Emperor Hadrian. The grounds encompass nearly 300 acres and contain full-sized reproductions of artistry and architecture Hadrian witnessed during his travels around the Roman Empire. Strolling along the walkways of the villa provides you with an open-air museum exhibiting 2nd-century ruins. The verdant space contains stunning gardens. The Roman reproductions of Greek statues have survived the tests of time long after the original Greek statues have disappeared. In the Naval Theater, you can relax on the small island surrounded by a circular colonnaded moat. The graceful hills of Lazio provide an excellent backdrop to the enchanting garden architecture. 

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Lago di Albano – In the Crater Lake

In the morning, freshly baked brioche fills the display windows of the cafes around Rome. Business people en route to work stop at the café counters and drink shots of espresso before heading to the office. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you in the hotel and escorts you out of Rome for the day, taking you to the lush countryside of Lago di Albano. The crater lake is nearly two miles in and one mile wide. In the 4th century, BC Roman engineers built a canal to drain the water to a certain point, turning the shores into a popular summer retreat from the Roman upper class. The water reaches a depth of up to 560 feet, encompassing an area of more than two square miles.

The serene cobalt water laps at the shoreline of the lush hillside. Colorful medieval houses ascend the crater’s rim. The hill town of Castel Gandolfo contains lavish villas opening the canopy of the Alban Hills. The papal palace stands at the heart of the town, adorned with an extensive garden built for the pleasure of the pope dating back to the 17th century. Stroll along the main square of Piazza della Liberta to see the church of San Tommaso di Villanova, a structure designed by the famous architect Bernini. The scent of fresh produce and savory cheese emanates from the local shops. The tranquil ambiance is a nice change of pace from the bustling streets of Rome.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Rome – A Guiding Church Light

The wonders of the Roman Empire stretch beyond the city limits and venture outside of Italy. The history of the former empire and the city of Rome intertwine in the museums and have shaped the evolution of the culture around the streets and homes contemporary citizens. After breakfast, the day is at your leisure to relish the hidden lanes or quiet museums of Rome, each depicting a different feature of history and culture. Beyond the museums are the stunning churches of Rome, which contain distinctive histories in and of themselves, equally a part of Roman, yet remarkably estranged. You make your way to Santa Maria in Cosmedin, one of the finest examples of medieval church architecture in Rome, located on the southern edge of Piazza Bocca della Verita.

The church was erected between the 8th and 12th centuries. The north wall retains features from the original construction in the columns and arcades, which date back to the 4th century. On the porch stands the greatest attraction, featured in the film Roman Holiday, with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck: the Mouth of Truth. The large marble mask is an ancient Roman artifact possibly part of an antique fountain. The marble was placed on the porch in the 17th century, after which a legend followed. You place your hand in its mouth and respond to a question. If you lie, it is said to bite off a person’s hand.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Rome – A Roman Ending

Rome is a city in which you could wander for around for years and still find new pockets worth exploring. Visitors venture into Byzantine catacombs or linger at a café along the Tiber River. The artwork of the Vatican Museums continues to inspire you. Museums practically overflow with artifacts from antiquity, including in the Capitoline Museum, founded by Pope Sixtus IV in the 15th century. The museum contains one of the richest collections of classical sculptures, which includes a Roman copy of the Dying Gaul. The marble statue was crafted in the 3rd century BC and depicts a wounded Celt with splendid realism in both body and facial features. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel in the heart of Rome and escorts you to Fiumicino Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Starting Price 

$2,195
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.