Special Access Area: Monte Testaccio — Imperial Rome’s Broken Pottery Garbage Heap

In Imperial Rome, you could do a lot with an amphora, like using it repeatedly to store and transport dry goods. If it broke, you could use it as lightweight filler in concrete. You could grind it down and reform it -- tedious, but true! And if it were slathered with olive oil that would slowly deteriorate and stink? Well, you could turn it into a mountain by breaking it into pieces and gluing them together with lime!

Full-Days Near Rome: Hadrian’s Villa

Although the Emperor Hadrian’s extensive countryside estate was referred to as a “Villa,” it is better defined as an “administrative city.” Occupying well over a million square meters, the Villa was divided into banqueting halls for foreign ambassadors and palace officials, summer and winter residences, reception areas, offices, terraced gardens, baths for note-worthies and staff, and miles of underground corridors where servants scuttled, unseen by Hadrian and his court.

Underground Rome: The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas

On the Via Latina, near the Sepulcher of the Scipios, is the Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas. Columbarium comes from the Latin columba, which means “dove.”  A columbarium was literally a dovecot, where birds were raised for their eggs and as food.   When cremation burials became common, ash-urns were deposited in small niches that were carved into tombs walls.  The niches produced a dovecot effect, which gave this type of tomb its name.

Full-Days Near Rome: Ostia Antica

Ostia is "Rome's Pompeii" and it reveals a lot about daily life in the classical world: we'll stroll from a hotel to the town's center, from apartment buildings, to ritzy villas, from taverns and greasy spoons to artisans' workshops and public baths. When you smell the salt air blowing in from the nearby sea, you'll understand why patricians were enchanted by Ostia and why ancient sailors called it home.

Underground Rome: Vicus Caprarius

Around the corner from the Trevi Fountain, is the Cinema Trevi. Faced with excessive humidity, the movie theater's owners probed deeper and deeper to discover the root of the problem. Their explorations led to the birth of an archeological area approximately 27 feet under the modern street level. Referred to as Vicus Caprarius or “Goat Alley” in Latin, the site contains two Imperial Roman apartment buildings and lots. I mean lots, of natural running water!

Underground Rome: The Nymphaeum of Via Annibaldi

"How can a city be built in layers?" you ask. It is common in Rome! Imagine hundreds, if not thousands, of ancient Roman buildings in brick and concrete collapsing... then add the filth and mud of floods... and voila', ground level rises! Incredible examples of this phenomenon can be seen at San Clemente, the Vicus Caprarius, and here at the Nymphaeum (or water feature) under Via Annibaldi...

Ancient and Imperial Rome: the Ara Pacis and Two Imperial Mausoleums

Everyone knows that Augustus was the first Emperor of Rome. Very few people consider how he was thrust into Rome’s political arena in his late teens and how he struggled to survive a series of civil wars. In his struggles, he would revolutionize Rome’s government. This visit looks at two monuments which Augustus built to introduce Romans to the idea of Imperial succession (the Altar of Peace and his Mausoleum). After which, we focus on the Emperor Hadrian, who built his Mausoleum to continue the idea of political stability, Imperial dynasty and magnificence.