/antiquity
  • This walking tour takes a layer-by-layer look at the complex archaeological zones of the Coliseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum. Within these sites we will be able to trace the origins of Rome from the Romulus and Remus myth through Republican Rome up to the Roman Empire. Caesar, Nero, and Trajan are just some of the names we’ll encounter as we use these three sites to discuss everything from propaganda and politics to daily life and entertainment. The tour provides context for other ancient ruins in the city and leaves visitors with a deeper understanding of ancient Roman culture. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • The Campus Martius, or Field of Mars, was a vast area of Ancient Rome, an area of importance that was demonstrated through the building of temples, baths, and commemorative structures like the Ara Pacis. The current day Field of Mars designates an area of Rome’s historic center with well-known sites such as thePantheon, Campo de’ Fiori, and Piazza Navona, as well as numerous Renaissance and Baroque palaces, piazzas, and churches. This leisurely walking tour through the historical center, where Romans have been living, worshiping, and gathering for more than 2000 years, can be tailored to focus on a specific theme or art historical period. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • Modern Rome sits atop as much as 30 feet of archeology, a phenomenon that has led to the preservation of countless ancient monuments, including houses, temples, sewers, and theaters. This archeological walk focuses on the urban stratification that characterizes the city’s architectural history and provides ample ground to discuss everything from Roman engineering and construction to urban planning and building functions under the Roman Empire. Rome’s stratification provides an unparalleled opportunity to physically move through the city’s history, from modern street level down through the medieval and ancient layers that provide the backbone for the pavement we currently walk over. Due to irregular opening hours, sites will vary depending on the day of the week, but may include San Clemente, San Nicola in Carcere, the Crypta Balbi, the Vicus Caprarius, and the Case Romane on the Celio. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • This tour will visit the Capitoline Museums—two buildings and an underground tunnel—which house the greatest collection of antiquities in Rome. Considered to be the first public museum, the collection houses iconic works such as the Dying Gaul, the remains of the Colossus of Constantine, the original bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius—the one in Piazza Campidoglio is a replica—as well as the foundations of the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. The museum visit will focus on Imperial artwork, the influence of Greek art on Roman iconography, and mythological subjects, as well as the styles and materials employed by the Romans. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • The Appian Way’s importance in antiquity is only reinforced by its nickname—the Queen of Roads. Connecting Rome with Brindisi in southern Italy, it was one of the earliest roads of the Roman Republic. As function for the road changed over time, it became notable for its monuments to wealthy members of society and these remaining structures, such as the Tomb of Cecilia Metella and the Circus of Maxentius help us understand the power structure of the ancient world. Before endeavoring toward the aforementioned monuments, we will first stop by the Circus Maximus and Baths of Caracalla, where we will begin our discussion of Roman society and the use of urban planning as a social and political tool during the Empire. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • The role of Augustus in shaping the Imperial Rome we still see while passing through Rome’s historic center today cannot be understated. His reign had a lasting impact almost unparalleled in ancient history. His name is practically synonymous with the Empire itself! This walking tour was developed to explore the manner in which Augustus definitively transformed the Roman Republic into his own Imperial showpiece through the use of political architecture. Our time together begins in the Forum of Augustus, an ambitious public building program and a strong introduction to architecture as propaganda. As we amble our way into the heart of the historic center, the Theater of Marcellus, Pantheon, Augustan sundial, Ara Pacis, and Mausoleum of Augustus will provide a rich, physical textbook for how Augustus’ architectural planning, both in form and function, bolstered his political ambitions. We will touch on topics of daily life during Augustus’ reign, from economic and social reforms to the creation of official fire and police departments for the city of Rome. At the end of our time together, you will come away with a greater appreciation for and understanding of Augustus’ legacy and his continuing impact on how we view Rome. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • After a 30-minute train ride, we will arrive at one of Italy’s greatest archeological sites. The seaside town of Ostia reached its peak in the 2nd century when it was a vital administrative center for commerce. Due to its burial under river mud for several centuries, we have the opportunity to explore the well-preserved, bustling Roman port town. Thanks to its proximity to Rome—it is a mere 25 minutes away by train from the Aurelian Walls—Ostia Antica makes a fantastic option for those who wish to visit Pompeii but are not able to make the trip south of Naples. During our time in Ostia Antica, we will walk the ancient streets and visit a bathing complex, temples, a theater, a forum, restaurants, and houses to gain a fuller picture of how ancient Roman towns functioned. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • Though scholars debated its origins, it seems the Mithraic cult came to Rome in the 1st century BCE from Persia, brought back by Roman soldiers who had been fighting in the east. Sitting at a depth of nearly three stories underground today, the Mithraeum of the Circus Maximus is one of the many places in Rome that reveal the complex urban stratification of the city. The Mithraeum of the Circus Maximus was discovered in the 1930s during the building of the set storage facility for the Teatro Nazionale dell’Opera. Probably built in the second century AD, the large building was modified many times, and in the third century AD, its ground floor became a mitreo. The rooms of the original structure were converted into the sacrificial and ritual areas where followers of the god Mithras would venerate their god, make sacrifices, and participate in a ritual meal of bread and wine. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • The name “Auditorium of Mecenate” dates back to the discovery of this building, which occurred during excavations required by the town-planning scheme in 1874. It was first thought to be an auditorium, a small covered theatre within the Gardens of Maecenas, but it is more likely to have been a summer nymphaeum-triclinium, meaning a banquet hall that was half-sunken into the earth and therefore somewhat cooler. It was once used for friendly get-togethers enlivened with water games and it consists of a hall with an apsis built at the end of the Republican Age on a tract of the Servian Walls. On the external wall of the semicircle the painting of anepigram by Callimacus alluded to the effects produced by wine during the symposium. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • One of the most important Republican era funerary monuments in Rome located in a prestigious ancient cemetery, the Tomb of the Scipios was the final resting place of war heroes and generals, including Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus (you may have seen his sarcophagus in the Vatican Museums), not to mention the poet Ennius. The main funeral area was dug out of a natural tufa outcropping in the 3rd century BCE and was used by the Scipio family, one of Rome’s most important patrician clans, until they died out. The reliefs, frescoes, and inscriptions that survive on the site testify to its original use and subsequent re-use during the early Empire. Contact [email protected] for details.