ROMAN ANTIQUITIES TOUR

  • Duration:8 NIGHTS/9 DAYS
  • Countries Visited: Italy

DAY 1:  DEPART FROM USA

Depart on an scheduled overnight flight from your gateway airport to Rome.

DAY 2: ROME – CAMPANIA

Welcome to Italy! We are greeted at the airport by our English speaking tour escort, where we will board our own private bus and transfer to Campania, a beautiful region filled with ancient history. En route we will stop for a visit to Ostia Antica, an important and powerful trading city at the height of the Roman Empire. We  explore the important ruins that have been unearthed, including: the Piazzale delle Corporazioni, an early version of Wall Street, with wonderfully preserved mosaics, the Ancient Theater, and the Forum, including a 2nd-century BC temple honoring Minerva, Jupiter, and Juno. Overnight in Pozzuoli area. (D)

DAY 3: THE PHLAEGREAN FIELDS

This morning, we will enter the world of ancient myth and legend as we explore the area of Italy known as the Phlaegrean Fields. This is a Greek name derived from the verb “to blaze,” due to the volcanic nature of the area. Few places in the Phlegraean Fields evoke Homer, Virgil and the cult of the otherworld more than Lake Avernus, believed by the ancients to be the entrance to Hades. On the eastern shore of Lake Avernus, we will admire the thermal hall known as the Temple of Apollo, which dates from the reign of Hadrian. Our day continues to Solfatara, where an elliptic crater was formed over 4000 years ago. Solfatara is the only crater in the Phlaegrean Fields which still exhibits an impressive fumarolic activity. Next we explore Cumae, founded in the 8th century BC. We will explore the remains of the Greek Temple of Jupiter on the summit of the acropolis. On the lower terrace of the acropolis we will view the Temple of Apollo, whose construction is attributed to the mythical Daedalus. We will also visit Sibyl’s Caves, a monument hollowed entirely out of a tufa bank, which according to Virgil’s description is the place where the abode of Sibyl, Apollo’s prophetic priestess, is located. Our final stop will be in Baia, where we will visit the Archaeological Museum of the Phlaegrean Fields, which displays a collection of artifacts from the region.

DAY 4: THE AMALFI DRIVE – PAESTUM

This morning we drive along the scenic Amalfi Coast, undoubtedly one of the most spectacular coastlines anywhere in the world. We will stop in Amalfi, which from the 9th to the 11th centuries rivaled the great maritime powers of Genoa and Venice. We have time to explore or shop in Amalfi  before visiting the magnificent Duomo. This afternoon we visit the ancient ruins at Paestum, which will include: the Basilica, a Doric temple from the 6th century BC, the TempleNeptune, one of the most impressive of the Greek ruins in the world, the Temple of Ceres, which still has 34 columns standing and a large altar for sacrifices to the gods. We continue to our hotel in in Sorrento, a romantic cliff top town, which overlooks the Bay of Naples. Overnight Sorrento. (B.D.) of

DAY 5: DAY TRIP TO CAPRI –POMPEII

We start from the port of Sorrento and journey to the beautiful Island of Capri. The highlight of the day is the boat ride to the Blue Grotto, one of the best-known and most beautiful natural sights in Italy.Our day continues from Marina Grande, where we will take a Funicular or coach to the town of Capri. The heart of the town is Piazza Umberto I, which is like a grand living room, lined with cafes and elegant shops. Our afternoon commences with a walk down Via Vittorio Emanuele to the Giardini di Augusto, the choice spot on Capri for panoramic views.  We then  ascend Mt. Vesuvius, a dormant volcano that dominates Campania. Continue with a visit to one of the most spectacular sights in the world, the remains and excavations of Pompeii. This once thriving Roman city was completely buried during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, and today provides archaeologists and visitors with a fascinating look at life in a Roman merchant city. We will have a local guide take us through the excavations within the city walls, including the Basilica, Forum, Baths, Theater and Amphitheater. Overnight Sorrento. (B.D.)

DAY 6:  HERCULANEUM – NAPLES

This morning we take a guided tour through the ruins and excavations at Herculaneum, where the people were still working to repair the damage caused by an earthquake in A.D. 62, when Mt. Vesuvius erupted on that fateful August day in 79 AD. Herculaneum is not completely dug out today, due to the fact that the town was buried under lava, which is much heavier than the ash and pumice stone that piled onto Pompeii. This however was beneficial, in that it formed a greater protection for the buildings buried underneath, many of which are more elaborately constructed than those at Pompeii. We continue to Naples, where we will visit the National Archaeological Museum, one of the finest antiquities museums in the world. Overnight Naples.  (B.D.)

DAY 7: ANCIENT ROME

Today we will explore Rome’s most spectacular remains from the powerful Roman Empire,  starting with a visit of the  Colosseum, considered the symbol of Rome’s eternity. Completed under Titus in 80 AD, over 55,000 spectators could watch the gladiatorial games. We continue with a walk through the ruins and excavations of the Roman Forum, featuring the remains of magnificent temples, basilicas and triumphal arches, which once formed the heart of the Empire. Our tour concludes with a brief visit to the Mamertine Prison, where St. Peter and St. Paul were imprisoned, and the grandiose Vittorio EmmanuelleMonument.  We then continue to Piazza Navona,  designed in the 17th century by Bernini. We then visit the Pantheon, one of the grandest and the best-preserved Roman monuments, which today houses the tombs of Raphael, Vittorio Emmanuelle II, and Queen Margherita and on  to the Spanish Steps, the stairway of the Church of Trinita dei Monti, and “the sitting room” of the city. Our day concludes at the romantic Trevi Fountain, where it is traditional to toss a coin into the fountain to ensure a return to the Eternal City. Overnight Rome. (B.D.)

DAY 8: CHRISTIAN ROME

Today we will explore the Vatican, the world’s smallest independent nation, and home of St. Peter’s Basilica.  We have a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, including the map rooms, the tapestry rooms, and the magnificent Raphael Rooms, as well as the spectacular Sistine Chapel, highlighted by Michelangelo’s ceiling and his Last Judgment. We continue with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the western world and the most important point of pilgrimage in the Catholic world. Afternoon finds us at the Catacombs, where the early Christians buried their dead.   Overnight Rome. (B.D.)

DAY 9:  DEPARTURE FROM ROME

Our enjoyable and rewarding tour will come to an end as our guide accompanies us to the airport for the return flight home. (B)

Additional tours to Italy are available.

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