Ancient Rome

This itinerary will help you to get the heart of ancient Rome.
At the foot of the Capitoline arx, we will visit the political, administrative and commercial hub of the City; we will see the Curia, once the meeting place of the Roman Senate, and the remains of the Comitium, people meeting square; here, there are important monuments as the Lapis Niger – the oldest known Latin inscription , the Aerarium or Tempio di Saturno (Temple of Saturn) – seat of the City’s treasury -, and the Rostri – platforms for public speakers.
Along the Via Sacra – the street of sacred processions – we will admire the remains of the Basilica Giulia (Court House), founded by Augustus, the Tempio di Giulio Cesare (Temple of Julius Caesar), where Caesar’s body was buried in 44 B.C. Then, we will proceed to the Casa delle Vestali (House of the Vestali Virgins), the priestess who tended the sacred flame in the Tempio di Vesta (Temple of Vesta).
After a visit at the Basilica di Massenzio (Maxentius’ Basilica), we will get the Arco di Tito (Titus’ Arch), built in 81 A.D. in honour of the Top general Titus who took over the territory of Giudea.
Then, we will go uphill, getting the Palatine Hill: according to the tradition, here Romulus founded the city of Rome, the so called “Roma quadrata”. During the Republican era, the hill was seat of great sanctuaries, as that of Magna Mater or Apollo and Venus.
The Palatine Hill had also been the ideal spot for wealthy Romans to build their villas (the famous orator Cicero and the commander Marcus Antonius lived here). It later became the Emperors's Royal Palace.
We will visit the Casa di Livia (Livia’s House), Augustus’ wife, the Casa di Augusto (Augustus’ House) and the remains of imperial palaces: the Domus Flavia, with the Aula Regia or the Emperor’s throne room, a large banqueting hall or triclinium, the Stadio Palatino (Palatine Stadium), used by the Emperors for private games and events.
From here, we will enjoy a wonderful view on the Circus Maximus, built in the 2nd century B.C. and used until 4th century A.D.: it could seat 300000 spectators!

Along Via dei Fori Imperiali, we will let you discover the greatest archaeological area of Rome.
Our itinerary starts in Piazza Venezia: from here, we will walk towards the Foro di Cesare (Caesar’s Forum), where there are the remains of the Tempio di Venere Genitrice (Temple of Venus Genetrix) and the Basilica Argentaria.
Then, we will admire the most important monuments in the Roman Forum, including the Curia, the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of Saturn, the Temple and House of the Vestali Virgins, the Maxentius’ Basilica) and the Titus’ Arch.
We will get Via Cavour and will see the remains of the Foro di Nerva (Nerva’s Forum) or Transitorio, founded in 97 A.D.
We will walk to the Foro di Augusto (Augustus’ Forum), built after 42 B.C.; next to it, we will admire the most monumental roman forum, the Foro di Traiano (Trajan’s Forum), designed by the famous architect Apollodorus of Damascus in 107 A.D.: we can still enjoy the ruins of the Basilica Ulpia, the greatest roman basilica, and the Colonna traiana (Trajan’s Column), erected to celebrate the victories of Trajan over the Dacians and to house the Emperor’s ashes. We will also admire the impressive Mercati traianei (Trajan’s Markets), also designed by Apollodorus.
We will also see the Carcere Mamertino (Mamertine Prison), where, according to the tradition, St. Peter was imprisoned; the Basilica of St. Cosmas and Damian, with a wonderful 6th century apse mosaic; the Church of St. Francesca Romana, in which there is a beautiful 5th century icon of Virgin Mary

In the museum of “Trajan's Markets” we will admire many marble fragments discovered during excavations in the Imperial Forums. You will walk on the ancient Via Biberatica,to the large exedra and the halls where originally the shops were located; them we will get the area of the Trajan’s Forum, where the remains of the Basilica Ulpia and the wonderful Trajan’s column are located.
Then, we will take a walk in the Rione Monti, the ancient Suburra (named after the latin words “sub urbe”, that is “under the city”), a very popular and characteristic area.
We will see the Palace where Marquis Del Grillo lived in the 18th century (the roman actor Alberto Sordi played this character in the famous movie “Il marchese Del Grillo”).
Other interesting sites are via Panisperna, with the palaeochristian church of Sant’ Agata dei Goti, the only Arian building in Rome;via Urbana, the ancient vicus Patricius, where the church of Santa Pudenziana is located: the interior houses a magnificent apse mosaic.

The visit will let you discover the valley of Colosseum.
Let's start from the Ludus Magnus, the barracks where the gladiators used to train themselves before fighting in the Colosseum.
It is located just in between via Labicana and via S. Giovanni in Laterano and it has a large hall, provided with entrances to the athlete's billets.
The Ludus Magnus was also provided with a small amphitheatre, for gladiators's training, and it was joined to Colosseum by an underground corridor.
Let's go now to the Colosseum, the real symbol of ancient Rome and the most grandiose amphitheatre of antiquity, place of terrible gladiators fights, wild animals huntings and sometimes spectacular naval battles and water games (naumachie).
We will discover the development of this site, from a residential area to the fire under Nero, from the Golden House (Nero's Domus Aurea), to the costruction of the first permanent Anphitheatre by the Flavian Dinasty.
Just in front of the Colosseum, an amazing triumphal Arch still stands: it is the Arch of Costantine, built to celebrate the first ten years of the Emperor's rule and to commemorate his victory in the civil war against his rival and brother – in - low Maxentius.
The next stop of our walk will be on the Palatine Hill, where the noblest and the most beautiful roman villas are located: Augustus’ and Livia’s houses, the imperial palaces.
At the end of our visit we will enjoy a fantastic view over the Aventinus hill and over the valley where the Circus Massimus is located.

The tour is dedicated to the commercial district of ancient Rome, provided with the largest harbour on the Tiber river, named Portus Tiberinus.
Close to the harbour, there are two important temples: the “Virile Fortune Temple”, dedicated to Portunus (protector god of sailors), the latter called “Vesta Temple”, but actually dedicated to Hercules. Then we can visit the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, which houses the popular Bocca della Verità (the Mouth of the Truth) in its portico: it is here that Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck filmed one the most popular scenes in the Movie “Roman Holidays”!!
it is a marble head of a river god, with his mouth open to challenge people to put their right hands inside while promising eternal love to their partners.
The ancient legend says that the hand of every liar will be cut off by the deep marble mouth.
Through the Gianus Arch, we will get San Giorgio al Velabro Church.
On its side, there is one of the access way to Forum Boarium: Argentari Arch, so called since built by the money of the bankers corporation (argentarii, i.e. silver coins owners and users), in addition to the money of the other sponsors, first of all the corporation of the livestock dealers (boarium, i.e. cattles, oxen).
Walking along via Petroselli, we will visit San Nicola in Carcere Church. On the opposite side of the street there are other ruins belonging to the “Sacred Area of Sant’Omobono”, including the Temples of the Mater Matuta and the Fortune, whose foundations were laid during the kingdom of Servius Tullius, one of the first kings of Rome.
The tour will end in front of the Marcellus Theatre, whose construction began under Giulius Caesar and ended during the empire of Augustus.
The emperor wanted the actual name in honour of his nephew Marcellus.
Nowadays the Theatre is joyned with the medieval-reinassance Savelli-Orsini Palace and with the ruins of the Apollus Sosianus Temple, whose three marble columns are still visible.

Let's have a nice,relaxing walk along one of the oldest consular roads: the Appian Way, inaugurated by Appius Claudius Ciecus in 312 b.C.
Our first stop is next the “Domine quo vadis?” Church, the place where, according to the popular tradition, Peter the Apostole, who was escaping from Rome during Nero's persecution, met Jesus Christ; on Peter's question about where Jesus was going to (“Domine, quo vadis?”), our Lord replied “I'm going to Rome to be crucified again”. On this answer, Peter kept the message, came back, re-joined the christian community, and found his marthirdom with many others.
We'll keep walking along the Appian Way, getting St. Sebastian Basilica and Catacombs, where the relics of the Apostoled Peter and Paul were kept for a while during the persecutions.
On out visit to the Catacomns, we'll see a red wall covered by graffiti left by pilgrims on their visit at the tombs of Peter and Paul
On this section of the Appian Way, there are also the ruins of the Royal Villa by Maxentius and, after it, we will get the real symbol of the Appia Way: the tomb (mausoleum) of Cecilia Metella, daughter of Metellus and wife of Crassus, noble and brave general in Julius Caesar’s army during the war in Gallia

They are the greatest example of baths (wellness center) during the imperial age.
They were built during the reign of Caracalla, at the beginning of the III century AD, and they could serve 1600 people at the same time.
The whole building was nearly square, with the side about 330 m long (370 yd), and it had two imposing exedras, along two opposite sides, that included a central large room with an apse, whose way in was decked with a colonnade.
Two smaller rooms were placed side by side to the largest one: this was the heart of the bath, where Romans could enjoy hot water baths (calidarium), warm water baths (tepidarium), and cold water baths (frigidarium). The area also included a swimming pool (natatio) and two gyms.
Both the two granite baths, now situated in Piazza Farnese, and the mosaic representing athletes, now exhibited in the Musei Vaticani, come from this amazing site.

The Quintili Villa was one of the largest villas in the roman suburbs.
It’s located along the old Appian way and it belonged to the two brothers Quintili, well-known for their active presence in the roman public life, thanks to their culture, military experience and wealth.
The emperor Commodus ordered to kill them in 182 a.D., on the charge of their conspiracy against his reign, and confiscated their Villa and their properties.
The villa was so rich and beautiful indeed that the emperor himself used to live there very often to enjoy its convenience and comforts.
We’ll also visit the Antiquarium, that houses precious statues discovered in the Villa during archaeological digs undertaken there in the last century.

Classical Itineraries

Guida Turistica Roma

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