Thinking about an unconventional visit? Explore San Clemente with me! This underground site touches on all sorts of themes, from ancient religions, to Medieval art, and the history of excavations.
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!
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.
The Tombs of Via Latina Coming Soon!
Our visit takes us to the Aurelian Walls, where a small park nestles between the Via Appia and the Via Latina. In the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., this was the boondocks of Rome. And the two roads bristled with tombs that, respecting ancient burial laws, were outside city limits.
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.
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.
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!
"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...
As the Roman Forum grew from a market place to the central nervous system of an Empire, the Palatine Hill first housed the humble huts of shepherds and then, after centuries of development, the mansions of different Imperial families.
Imperial Rome was a bustling metropolis, by far the largest in Europe in antiquity. It was served by dozens of Forum, or market areas. The Forum Boarium, which humorously translates as “the Meat Market,” functioned, according to some historians, even earlier than the Roman Forum and its monuments are, in many cases, far older than those in the Roman Forum.
Tired of walking? Ready to eat? After exploring the famous market in Campo de' Fiori, we sit down to an authentic ancient Roman lunch. You'll be surprised, and pleased, with what's on the menu...
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.
To relieve overcrowding in ancient Rome's downtown, several Roman emperors built new and larger fora (the plural of "forum") to create government offices, magnificent public spaces, and stores. On this visit, you'll explore the remains of the five fora that came after the original Roman Forum, each one more monumental than the last!
While time traveling through two thousand years of cultural, political, economic, and architectural evolution in ancient Rome's city center, you'll meet Romulus and Remus, triumph with Ceasar, worship with the Vestal Virgins and see politicians and bureaucrats at work.
Feel like exploring a magnificent arena where ancient Romans vented their dark side? Let's go to the Colosseum! An architectural marvel and the epicenter of ancient Roman entertainment, this is where winning was glorious and the consequences of losing were... permanent!