Discover Rome | Cultural and History Small Group Tour for Seniors
From A$7,750 AUD
- 1. Travel to Tivoli to visit Hadrian’s Villa & Vill D' este.
- 2. View the magnificent collections of the Palazzo Borghese, Barberini, and Doria Pamphili.
- 3. Enjoy opera classics at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.
- 4. Trace the hub of Europe’s greatest empire through the fascinating Roman culture.
|23 December 2021 |
Ends 06 January 2022 • 15 days
|23 December 2022 |
Ends 06 January 2023 • days
|23 December 2023 |
Ends 06 January 2024 • days
Discover Rome: Small Group Cultural and History Hour
Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across Italy, Western Europe and beyond. We explore Italy's fairy-tale natural beauty, its ancient Roman, and Imperial heritage, its World Heritage Sites, and this world famous city all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of Italy, foccussed on Rome, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.
On this 15-day small group winter tour, you experience the wonders of Rome, arguably the most fascinating city in Italy in December and January. As the capital city, the home of the Papacy, and the once-grand centre of a vast, ancient empire, Rome remains a cultural and historical mecca for the discerning traveller. This is great time to be in Rome both for Christmas and for New Year's Day.
Discover the cultural beginnings of faith, art, war, and technology with visits to the capital’s churches, monuments, and museums on this fully escorted small group tour. Be inspired by everything Rome has to offer. From ancient Roman monuments through to early Christian basilicas to modern exhibition spaces. Explore Renaissance palaces, Baroque churches, and the Neo-classical architecture of post-unification Italy. Experience artistic wonders such as monuments Hadid’s MAXXI exhibition space.
Exploring Rome in winter provides the opportunity to enjoy the ‘Eternal City’ without the buzz and distraction of the hordes of tourists who visit during Rome’s hotter months. This small group tour also allows us to take advantage of shorter queues in the off-season and enjoy the hidden gems of Italy's capital. You have time to meet the locals and revel in this magnificent city's culinary delights. Unlike other tours of Rome, you will have the opportunity to really do as the Romans do and eat in local trattorias, sampling some of the finest cuisine of the city.
Discover Rome Tour Itinerary
Our program begins with a walking tour of Rome, taking in many ancient Roman sites. During this tour you visit the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, the Pantheon, the Baths of Diocletian, and the Marcello Theatre. We also visit the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, and Domitian’s Stadium. Significant monuments you see along the way include the ‘Vittoriana,’ and the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. This was built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. We will finish the day with a visit to the beautiful Piazza Navona, where we can see Bernini’s magnificent Fountain of the Four Rivers. The remainder of our small group tour takes in other similar sites significant to Rome's history and culture.
This tour is in Rome for December 25th. This will be the third day of the tour and we will make sure that it is a celebration for everyone. Rome has a unique feeling on this day and we will get time to walk via Trastevere to St Peter’s for the Pope’s 12.00pm address. Regardless of your religion, this is a special experience and will give you an insight into how the Papacy and the Vatican continue to shape this city.
During your tour you have the chance to explore Renaissance and Baroque churches and palaces associated with Michelangelo, Borromini, Bernini & Raffaello. You also travel to Tivoli, where we visit Hadrian’s Villa & Vill D’ Este. Participants also have also take in the magnificent collections of the Palazzo Borghese, Barberini, and Doria Pamphili. During the tour you enjoy an opera at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.
To prepare for the trip, check out our blog post listing 10 great books to read before travelling Italy! You can learn more about Italy with our country profile where all the other tour departures are listed as well.
For more details about this tour, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
Our tour of Rome is just one of the long stay tours Odyssey offers each year. With this tour type, senior travellers stay centrally located for at least a week and up to 21 days in each city and get the chance to experience the life of locals.
Day 1: Rome
On the first night of our Rome Winter Odyssey, we will transfer to our hotel and get settled in before coming together in the hotel for a briefing on the tour, where we will receive an overview of Rome’s many attractions, including the Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica and Castel Sant ‘Angelo, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and Rome’s magnificent piazzas and fountains. Following the briefing, we will walk to a local restaurant to enjoy our first local meal for a dinner together.
Day 2: Rome
On the second day of our Winter Odyssey, we will become acquainted with Ancient Rome on a full-day tour hosted by our local tour guide. The tour will feature ancient Roman sites, including the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, Ara Pacis Augustus Museum, the Portico di Ottavia, the Pantheon, the Baths of Diocletian, and the Marcello Theatre.
Lunch and dinner are at own arrangements.
Day 3: Rome
On the third day of our Winter Odyssey, we will walk via Trastevere to St Peter’s for the Pope’s 12.00pm address on Christmas day.
After St Peter’s we walk back, but stopping to visit the beautiful Piazza Navona, where we can see Bernini’s magnificent Fountain of the Four Rivers. On Christmas day there is a market in the square.
We enjoy a group dinner locally in Trastevere
Day 4: Rome
Day four of our Winter Odyssey will feature a visit to the Castel Sant’Angelo, or the Mausoleum of Hadrian. This site was originally built by Emperor Hadrian as a family tomb, but it was later used by popes as a fortress and castle. It was also the setting for the third act of Giacomo Puccini’s 1900 opera Tosca, in which the eponymous heroine leaps to her death from the Castel’s ramparts. Today this historical building is a museum.
The tour will include visits to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, and Domitian’s Stadium. We will also view the ‘Vittoriana,’ also known as the Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland), and the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II) which was built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy.
Following our visit to the Castel Sant’Angelo, we will explore the wonderful Piazza di Spagna and the Trevi Fountain.
Day 5: Rome
Our day today will be spent exploring some of the oldest churches and basilicas in Rome. We will visit Santa Maria Maggiore (a major basilica) which is the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the nearby Santa Pudenziana and Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, a minor basilica). We continue on to the Basilica di Santa Maria in Travestere (Our Lady in Travestere Basilica), one of the oldest churches in the city. Among the highlights of today will be the visit to the Catacombs of St Callixtus, possibly the greatest and most important crypt of Rome.
Lunch and dinner are at own arrangements.
Day 6: Rome
Our study of Christianity in the Middle Ages will continue this morning as we join our local guide for a tour of San Paolo Fuori le Mura (Saint Paul Outside the Walls), another Major Basilica which was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I over the burial place of Saint Paul. We will also visit the Basilica of Santa Prisca on the Aventino Hill.
Afternoon is at leisure to explore the city on your own.
Lunch and dinner are at own arrangements.
Day 7: Rome
On our seventh day, we will commence our exploration of the Renaissance and Baroque periods in Rome. This exploration will include visits to churches and palaces built by the greatest architects of the time and decorated by the most important artists of the time. With our local guide, we will visit the Piazza Del Capidoglio, the Musei Capitolini, the Church of Saint John in Lateran (another Major Basilica), and Santa Maria degli Angeli e Dei Martiri. These fine examples of architecture by the greats such as Borromini and Michelangelo are sure to be unforgettable sights to behold.
We enjoy a group dinner locally.
Day 8: Rome
Today our visits will take us to the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, which houses a wonderful collection of paintings by the Renaissance masters. Following our visit to Santa Maria del Popolo, we will visit the Church of Sant’Andrea from the Baroque period and admire the architecture of the Palazzo Farnese, the most important high Renaissance palace in Rome.
Lunch and dinner are at own arrangements.
Day 9: Rome
We will set out again today to discover more of Renaissance and Baroque Rome. Today our visits will include the Palazzo Spada Museum, where we will get to see major works by artists such as Titian, Andrea del Sarto, and Gentileschi, among others. We will visit the churches of Sant’Agostino and Santa Maria della Pace, both of which house paintings by Michelangelo and Raffaello.
Lunch and dinner are at own arrangements.
Day 10: Tivoli
The tenth day of our Winter Odyssey will feature a change of pace with a full-day excursion to Tivoli, which is about thirty kilometres outside of Rome. Against the backdrop of breathtaking views that Tivoli offers, we will visit the palace and garden of Villa d’Este, which has been described by UNESCO as one of the most remarkable and comprehensive illustrations of Renaissance culture at its most refined. Afterwards we will visit Hadrian’s Villa, a complex of classical buildings created in the second century A.D. by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. We will say our goodbyes to the beautiful town of Tivoli with lunch at a local restaurant.
When we return to Rome, we will enjoy a group dinner before attending a performance at the Teatro del’Opera di Roma.
Day 11: Rome
The eleventh day of our Winter Odyssey will feature visits to some of Rome’s astonishing palaces. Our visits to the gorgeous Villa Borghese and Palazzo Barberini are sure to take your breath away with their grandeur and magnificent art collections.
Lunch and dinner are at own arrangements.
Day 12: Rome
On our twelfth day, will will reconvene with our local guide to explore the remarkable Vatican Museums. The Vatican Museums feature art collections built over centuries by the Popes. The Vatican Museums’ most notable feature is the Sistine Chapel, which features artwork by Michelangelo and Raphael.
We enjoy group dinner locally.
Day 13: Rome
The last 2 days of our Winter Odyssey will feature sites that hearken to a more contemporary Rome. Our 13th day will commence with a visit to one of the most symbolic sites associated Mussolini, the Palazzo Venezia. The day will continue into the twenty-first century with a visit to the MaXXI Museum (National Museum of the 21st Century Arts), which was designed by the Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and completed in 2010. Our afternoon will feature a visit to the 16th century Galleria Doria Pamphili, which houses a fantastic collection of paintings, furniture and statues.
Day 14: Rome
Our last day in Rome will feature a half-day tour including visits to the Macro Museum (Museum of Contemporary Art) and the GNAM (Galleria Nazionale D’arte Moderna), both dedicated to modern and contemporary art.
This evening, we will join together for a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 15: Rome
Tour will conclude after breakfast.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 14 nights of hotel accommodation.
- 14 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 6 dinners.
- Ticket to the opera.
- Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
- Entrances and tipping.
- All travel is in modern, air-conditioned coaches.
- Services of a Tour Leader.
What’s not included in our Tour
- International airfares including taxes.
- Comprehensive International Travel insurance.
- Airport transfers.
- Items of personal nature such as table drinks, laundry and telephone calls.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, moderate walking on uneven surfaces between 3 - 5 kilometers per day. Suitable for most fitness levels
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
Rome: The Biography of a City
This beautifully written, informative study is a portrait, a history and a superb guide book, capturing fully the seductive beauty and the many layered past of the Eternal City. It covers 3,000 years of history from the city's quasi-mythical origins, through the Etruscan kings, the opulent glory of classical Rome, the decadence and decay of the Middle Ages and the beauty and corruption of the Renaissance, to its time at the heart of Mussolini's fascist Italy. Exploring the city's streets and buildings, peopled with popes, gladiators, emperors, noblemen and peasants, this volume details the turbulent and dramatic history of Rome in all its depravity and grandeur.
By Christopher Hibbert
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome matters.
Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today.
SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists. It explores not only how Rome grew from an insignificant village in central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria, but also how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important to us. Covering 1,000 years of history, and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture from slavery to running water, as well as exploring democracy, migration, religious controversy, social mobility and exploitation in the larger context of the empire, this is a definitive history of ancient Rome.
SPQR is the Romans' own abbreviation for their state: Senatus Populusque Romanus, 'the Senate and People of Rome'.
By Mary Beard
Veni, Vidi, Vici: Everything you ever wanted to know about the Romans but were afraid to ask
The Romans left a long-lasting legacy and their influence can still be seen all around us - from our calendar and coins, to our language and laws - but how much do we really know about them? Help is at hand in the form of Veni, Vidi, Vici, which tells the remarkable, and often surprising, story of the Romans and the most enduring empire in history.
Fusing a lively and entertaining narrative with rigorous research, Veni, Vidi, Vici breaks down each major period into a series of concise nuggets that provide a fascinating commentary on every aspect of the Roman world - from plebs to personalities, sauces to sexuality, games to gladiators, poets to punishments, mosaics to medicine and Catullus to Christianity.
Through the twists and turns of his 1250-year itinerary, Peter Jones is a friendly and clear-thinking guide. In this book he has produced a beguiling and entertaining introduction to the Romans, one that vividly brings to life the people who helped create the world we live in today.
By Peter Jones
The Colosseum was Imperial Rome's monument to warfare. Like a cathedral of death it towered over the city and invited its citizens, 50,000 at a time, to watch murderous gladiatorial games. It is now visited by two million visitors a year (Hitler was among them). Award winning classicist, Mary Beard with Keith Hopkins, tell the story of Rome's greatest arena: how it was built; the gladiatorial and other games that were held there; the training of the gladiators; the audiences who revelled in the games, the emperors who staged them and the critics. And the strange after story - the Colosseum has been fort, store, church, and glue factory.
By Keith Hopkins
Invisible Romans: Prostitutes, outlaws, slaves, gladiators, ordinary men and women ... the Romans that history forgot
Robert Knapp seeks out the ordinary people who formed the fabric of everyday life in ancient Rome and the outlaws and pirates who lay beyond it. They are the housewives, prostitutes, freedmen, slaves, soldiers, and gladiators who lived commonplace lives and left almost no trace in history - until now. But their words are preserved in literature, letters, inscriptions and graffiti and their traces can be found in the histories, treatises, plays and poetry created by the elite. A world lost from view for two millennia is recreated through these, and other, tell-tale bits of evidence cast off by the visible mass of Roman history and culture.
Invisible Romans reveals how everyday Romans sought to survive and thrive under the afflictions of disease, war, and violence, and to control their fates under powers that both oppressed and ignored them. Their lives - both familiar and foreign to ours today - are shown against the tumult of a great empire that shaped their worlds as it forged the wider world around them.
By Robert C. Knapp
The First Ladies of Rome: The Women Behind the Caesars
Like their modern counterparts, the 'first ladies' of Rome were moulded to meet the political requirements of their emperors, be they fathers, husbands, brothers or lovers. But the women proved to be liabilities as well as assets - Augustus' daughter Julia was accused of affairs with at least five men, Claudius' wife Messalina was a murderous tease who cuckolded and humiliated her elderly husband, while Fausta tried to seduce her own stepson and engineered his execution before boiled to death as a punishment.
In The First Ladies of Rome Annelise Freisenbruch unveils the characters whose identities were to reverberate through the ages, from the virtuous consort, the sexually voracious schemer and the savvy political operator, to the flighty bluestocking, the religious icon and the romantic heroine.
Using a rich spectrum of literary, artistic, archaeological and epigraphic evidence, this book uncovers for the first time the kaleidoscopic story of some of the most intriguing women in history, and the vivid and complex role of the empresses as political players on Rome's great stage.
By Annelise Freisenbruch
The Roman Forum
There are few more historic and evocative places in the world. Caesar was cremated there. Charles V and Mussolini rode by it in triumph. There Napoleon celebrated his festival of liberty. In this radical reappraisal David Watkin teaches us to see the Forum with new eyes and helps us to rediscover its rich history. This is as stimulating to the armchair traveller as it is useful as a guide to the Forum itself.
'With verve, authority and no little humour, Watkin tells the detailed and complex story of this great but mutilated landmark ... it is an almost impossible task, superbly done' Peter Jones, BBC History Magazine
'In this sprightly volume ... the distinguished architectural historian David Watkin charts the shifting fortunes of the site ... he has an engagingly romantic feeling for the place... deploying a good deal of sharp wit, he reveals how the relatively recent obsession with recovering the Forum's classical past has led to much unhappy destruction and much less scarcely happy invention' Matthew Sturgis, Country Life
By David Watkin
The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples
A provocative, entertaining account of Italy's diverse riches, its hopes and dreams, its past and present. Did Garibaldi do Italy a disservice when he helped its disparate parts achieve unity? Was the goal of political unification a mistake? The question is asked and answered in a number of ways in The Pursuit of Italy, an engaging, original consideration of the many histories that contribute to the brilliance―and weakness―of Italy today. David Gilmour's wonderfully readable exploration of Italian life over the centuries is filled with provocative anecdotes as well as personal observations, and is peopled by the great figures of the Italian past―from Cicero and Virgil to the controversial politicians of the twentieth century. Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive art, civic cultures, identities, and cuisines.
By Gilmour, David
Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire
This is the story of the greatest empire the world has ever known. Simon Baker charts the rise and fall of the world's first superpower, focusing on six momentous turning points that shaped Roman history. Welcome to Rome as you've never seen it before - awesome and splendid, gritty and squalid.
From the conquest of the Mediterranean beginning in the third century BC to the destruction of the Roman Empire at the hands of barbarian invaders some seven centuries later, we discover the most critical episodes in Roman history: the spectacular collapse of the 'free' republic, the birth of the age of the 'Caesars', the violent suppression of the strongest rebellion against Roman power, and the bloody civil war that launched Christianity as a world religion.
At the heart of this account are the dynamic, complex but flawed characters of some of the most powerful rulers in history: men such as Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero and Constantine. Putting flesh on the bones of these distant, legendary figures, Simon Baker looks beyond the dusty, toga-clad caricatures and explores their real motivations and ambitions, intrigues and rivalries.
The superb narrative, full of energy and imagination, is a brilliant distillation of the latest scholarship and a wonderfully evocative account of Ancient Rome.
By Simon Baker
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
For nineteenth-century Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt, the Italian Renaissance was nothing less than the beginning of the modern world - a world in which flourishing individualism and the competition for fame radically transformed science, the arts, and politics. In this landmark work he depicts the Italian city-states of Florence, Venice and Rome as providing the seeds of a new form of society, and traces the rise of the creative individual, from Dante to Michelangelo. A fascinating description of an era of cultural transition, this nineteenth-century masterpiece was to become the most influential interpretation of the Italian Renaissance, and anticipated ideas such as Nietzsche's concept of the 'Ubermensch' in its portrayal of an age of genius.
By Jacob Buckhards and Peter Murray
Art in Renaissance Italy
With a freshness and breadth of approach that sets the art in its context, this book explores why works were created and who commissioned the palaces, cathedrals, paintings, and sculptures. It covers Rome and Florence, Venice and the Veneto, Assisi, Siena, Milan, Pavia, Genoa, Padua, Mantua, Verona, Ferrara, Urbino, and Naples. Chapters are grouped into four chronological parts, allowing for a sustained examination of individual cities in different periods. "Contemporary Scene" boxes provide fascinating glimpses of daily life and "Contemporary Voice" boxes quote from painters and writers of the time. Innovative and scholarly, yet accessible and beautifully presented, this book is a definitive work on the Italian Renaissance. This revised edition contains around 200 new pictures and nearly all colour images.
By John T. Paoletti and Gary M. Radke