Villa d’Este

Ancient aristocrats bought property in the countryside around Rome where they built luxury residences and opulent summer homes. They often had vast grounds terraced and manicured, while water features, fountains, and birdbaths turned their homes into earthly paradises. The Renaissance revived this practice and Villa d’Este outstrips many of the other great Italian villas of the 1500s for the splash and play of its abundant fountains and the cool green beauty of its gardens.

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!

The Tiber River: Flumen Tiberis

If the Tiber River possesses very little charm today, thank poorly thought-out, modern urban planning! When the embankments were built beside the River as flood control in the late 1800s / early 1900s, they segregated it from the town it had always nurtured (and occasionally flooded). We'll discover how the Tiber was once the city's economic backbone, an easy means of transportation, a source of rest and relaxation, and employment for the ferrymen who transported people from one bank to the the other.

“All That Glitters:” Christian Mosaics from the Late Empire to the XIII century

What can mosaics tell us about early Christian communities, the concerns of the faithful in the Middle Ages, and the politics of the Church of Rome? Santa Pudentiana (whose mosaics date to the end of the fourth century or the very beginning of the fifth), the imposing Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (with mosaics from the fifth and thirteenth centuries), and the nearby church of Santa Prassede (which sports ninth-century mosaics), will answer those questions (and more).

Customize Your Tour!

You’ve figured it out reading my webpage: I’d love to take you anywhere in or near Rome! Although I’ve tried to create a complete list of my visits, the list is actually endless…  Especially because I’m happy to customize and tailor tours to meet your needs.