Rome and the secret towns of Lazio region
This tour will be a time trip through 2,800 years of history, from the mysterious Etruscans, through the Roman Empire, the middle ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque periods. It will make you feel the magic of archeological sites frozen in time and the beauty and richness of an Art City like Rome and of towns and hamlets located at the heart of the territory over which the Pope and the Church exercized their temporal power, all set in landscapes from a fairy tale that have mesmerized and inspired so many travelers and artists throughout the centuries.
You will be visiting Rome, the Vatican City and their surroundings such as: OSTIA ANTICA, one of the largest archeological sites in the world where one of the oldest known synagogues was excavated, the VIA APPIA, the oldest Roman road with its original pavings crossing an evocative landscape and places of interest, VILLA ADRIANA, the magnificent villa built by emperor Adriano; tour the sites where Popes and noblemen built their magnificent castles, palaces and villas with outstanding Italian gardens like TIVOLI, ANAGNI, ALATRI, PALESTRINA, and their surrounding areas with magnificent views overlooking vulcanic lakes and fairytale-like towns like the ROMAN CASTLES area and LAKE BOLSENA; explore the sites featuring the most incredible Etruscan archaeological ruins like TARQUINIA, TUSCANIA and CERVETERI; lovely hamlets whose origins are lost in time and where the Jewish presence dates back to the early medieval times, like SERMONETA, CORI, VITERBO, VELLETRI and PITIGLIANO; areas where secluded monasteries have been built in isolated wild areas, like the one of SUBIACO built on the cliff of a canyon.
Last, but not least, you will be able to enjoy a balmy day on the famous sea promontory of the ARGENTARIO (in Tuscany) and of the Tuscan archipelago and its wildest island – GIANNUTRI – where you will take a boat cruise stopping in the most scenic coves with the possibility of a swim and a snorkel.
Like any other of our Tours, also this one can be shortened or extended. For the latter option we invite you to have a look at all our Tours which, either partially or totally, could be added to this tour. We invite you also to check our list of 1 EXTRA DAY OPTIONS and ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES that are offered with each tour (extra cost to be advised upon request).
After visiting Italy’s beauties, if you might be interested in continuing your trip to Israel please bear in mind that we have a strong partnership with GO ASIA tour operator (https://www.goasia.it/destinazioni/israele/).
LOCATIONS INCLUDED IN THE TOUR: ROME; OSTIA ANTICA; CERVETERI; VILLA ADRIANA; TIVOLI; SUBIACO; PALESTRINA; ANAGNI; ALATRI; SERMONETA; CORI; VELLETRI; CASTELLI ROMANI; VITERBO; MONTEFIASCONE; CIVITA DI BAGNOREGGIO; LAKE OF BOLSENA and BOLSENA); TARQUINIA; TUSCANIA; PITIGLIANO; SORANA; SOVANO; ARGENTARIO sea promontory and TUSCAN ARCHIPELAGO (Giannutri island).
ELEMENTS OF INTEREST INCLUDED IN THE TOUR
1) Jewish Heritage;
2) Art cities;
3) ”Minor Italy”: places off the beaten path, but that are worth visiting for their beauty and their typical Italian characteristics and atmosphere;
4) Nature and landscapes;
5) World War II;
Arrival at Rome Fiumicino airport.
Private transfer to Rome by deluxe car. After checking in the hotel you will meet the guide and start your first savouring tour of the “eternal” city, the Vatican (ticket included) and the Via Appia built in 263 B.C., the oldest of the many roads making up the extensive communication network the Romans built to connect the vastness of their empire.
This initial tour is to give you the flavour of this amazing city, its incredible monuments, piazzas, palaces and atmosphere. Another 2 full days will be dedicated to the visit of the amazing open air museum that is Rome.
Return to the hotel for overnight stay.
After breakfast, short drive to Ostia Antica, a port town at the time of ancient Rome, nowadays not anymore on the sea. Here you will meet your guide with whom you will start the tour of this vast and fascinating archeological park where you can almost feel its ancient bustling life. Here you will also find the ruins of the oldest synagogue in Western Europe.
From Ostia Antica you will then proceed to Cerveteri. This area in pre Roman era was one of the main centres of the still mysterious Etruscan civilisation. You will be visiting the lovely town of Cerveteri, its Etruscan Museum, and then move to the famous archeological area of the Etruscan necropolis of the Banditaccia covering a very large area where you will be walking immersed in an incredible atmosphere frozen in Etruscan time dating back to 2,500 years ago.
At the end of the visit return to Rome for overnight stay.
This will be the 2nd day dedicated to visiting Rome.
First stop will be the iconic Colosseum (tickets included) known in Roman times as “Anphitheatrum Flavium” in honour of the emperors belonging to the Flavian dynasty who started its constructions in 72 A.D. and completed in 80 A.D.
The visit will continue to the nearby huge archeological area starting at the Roman Forums built on area that was first settled and built in 750 B.C. and that took its present layout and aspect under the rule of Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. to be finally completed in 113 A.D. by emperor Trajan, the emperor under whose rule the Roman Empire reached its largest extension (5millions sq. kms.). It comprises 5 squares surrounded by ruins of palaces and the old marketplace through which you will then access to the Colle Palatino area (Palatine hill), the area also chosen by the Roman emperors to build their majestic Palaces - an etymological curiosity: “Palatino/Palatine” is the root from which derives the modern word “Palazzo” (Palace).
We will then move to visit one of the “hidden” treasures of Rome: the Jewish ghetto area, a very lively and lovely area in the heart of Rome. Here you will walk and “breath” its typical atmosphere, visit the Jewish Museum and the gorgeous Synagogue, and learn about the “Judean Romanesque” cuisine. Here is also where the Nazi troops on October 16th, 1943 raked 1,259 Jews to be destined to the extermination camps.
After breakfast, transfer by deluxe coach to Tivoli city, an area where in Roman time the elites built their gorgeous countryside villas. We will start with Villa Adriana, a lavish countryside residence built around 150 A.D. by Emperor Adrian whose restauration has been recently completed. It is an impressive construction with its incredible decorations and unique features that were meant to entertain and stun the guests, quite a feat considering that they were devised and built 2,000 years ago.
Our next two destinations will be the magnificent Villa d’Este and its sumptuous gardens, both masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance and Villa Gregoriana with its incredible natural setting featuring woods, grottos, waterfalls, and ponds.
Afterwards, you will proceed to visit the picturesque town of Subiaco and one of its ancient Monasteries – the Monastery of San Benedetto - built in the XIII century on a canyon’s cliff. In this incredible setting you will be able to admire both art and nature.
Return to the hotel in Rome for overnight stay.
Our first destination of the day will be Palestrina, a very picturesque town famous for the Santuario della fortuna Primigenia founded as early as the VII century B.C. and dedicated to the godess Fortune. This impressive and extended sanctuary is crowned at its top by the Barberini Palace built in the XV century over a pre-existing palace. It is now home of the impressive Archeological museum that is also part of our visit. The Sanctuary is located in an impressive setting: a high standing terrace sitting at the top of a hill overlooking a lovely and peaceful landscape.
We will then proceed to Anagni, known as the “city of the Popes”, both because it’s the birthplace of four popes and because for quite some time it had been elected by the popes as the ideal place for their leisurely residential villas and palaces outside Rome. Here you will be visiting the Cathedral and one of the Pope’s Palaces.
The tour will continue to Alatri with its main attraction being its acropolis know as Civita and located at the heart of the town surrounded by the medieval cyclopic walls circling around Alatri.
Return to Rome: overnight stay.
This will be the 3rd day dedicated to the visit of Rome.
Today you will visit Castello Sant’Angelo (tickets included) built originally as the mausoleum of emperor Adriano and his family, but that throughout history was also a fortified military outpost, an infamous jail ,and a splendid Renaissance residence where masters of the caliber of Michelangelo worked. Now it’s a museum with breathtaking painted halls and corridors. The visit will then take you to enjoy some of the most famous and splendid Roman squares, such as Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna, to the iconic Fontana di Trevi and to the Pantheon, an imposing monument dedicated to all the Roman gods and godesses that made up the religious Roman pantheon.
Return to the hotel: preparation for the Shabat.
Free day with the possibility of attending Shabat service according to the Italian Romanesque rite in the majestic Tempio Maggiore we visited a couple of days earlier.
Rest of the day at leisure.
The first stop of the day will be Sermoneta, one of the most beautiful hamlets in the Latium region, standing frozen in time on top of a hill. You will be visiting its fascinating old historic centre with its Castello Caetani named after the local family that welcomed the first Jewish settlement in the town in the XIII century, the Jewish old ghetto area still showing at one of its access gates an engraved monkey symbol of the local Jewish community, and its synagogue.
Next stop will be Cori clinging in a pyramid shape on the first elevations of the Appennini mountains. Here you will visit its main monuments including the old Tempio di Ercole founded in the 1st century B.C. in an area overlooking the surrounding mountains and plane with a vista that on a clear day could reach all the way to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Although no trace is left of any Jewish site, also this village had a flourishing Jewish community especially between the XV and the XVI centuries, engaged in all kind of activities such as medical, money lending, fabric trading, agricultural products and cattle, …
From Cori we will move to nearby enchanted Giardini della Ninfa (Gardens of the Nymph) an incredible feature blending wild nature and man made gardening scattered with ruins from different historical times.
Drive back to Rome through the very scenic road of the Castelli Romani area that you will be exploring the following day.
Return to the hotel, overnight stay.
The whole day will be dedicated to visiting the Castelli Romani area not far from Rome set in a beautiful natural context of rolling hills covered by thick woods, vulcanic lakes and dotted by picturesque hamlets also chosen for its beauty by the Popes to establish their sumptuous villas and palaces as summer retreats to avoid the heat of Rome. Here you will be stopping at several villages to enjoy their atmosphere, their views and to visit some of these papal villas, gardens, and palaces.
Drive to Viterbo where you will be spending the next 6 nights.
Hotel in Viterbo: overnight stay.
After breakfast you will meet your local guide and start your tour of Viterbo, an extremely well preserved medieval town which, like Avignon in France, became even the Papal seat for 24 years between 1257 and 1281 as a consequence of the very unrestful situation in Rome.
The town dates back to the Etruscan time and therefore is a stratification of several thousand years of history and different civilisations. Nowadays its outlook and layout is typically medieval: its streets, piazzas, each one with a typical fountain, its palaces and houses and their color given by the local stone used to build the city will capture your imagination and emotions – a small curiosity: George Clooney after shooting in 2018 a TV series in Viterbo decided to buy a mansion in the old town.
You will enjoy easy strolls through its alleys and piazzas to “breath in” its atmosphere and will also visit the area of the old Jewish ghetto and several attractions mostly concentrated in the upper monumental area of the town where also the Popes Palace stands in all its might. Here many church conclaves were held, the most famous of which in 1271 when the local population, tired of the many unconclusive and endless meetings amongst the cardinals to nominate a new pope, decided to lock them inside, remove the roof from the meeting hall and put the cardinals on a diet by reducing the food supply inside the Palace. All this to force them to bring the Conclave to a positive conclusion. This seemed to have worked, since soon after they swiftly elected Gregorio X as the new pope.
Then two very short drives to visit in nearby Bagnaia and Caprarola two magnificent Renaissance Villas and their gardens built by two of the most important and influential families in Rome: Villa Lante and Villa Farnese.
Return to the hotel: overnight stay.
Today will be dedicated to visit a “ghost village”, an art city with one of the most beautiful example of Gothic art and architecture in Italy, the largest vulcanic lake of those in the area and the 5th largest in Italy and a couple of villages around it.
After breakfast we will head towards nearby Civita di Bagnoregio, a tiny village perched on top of a tuff rock spur that can be reached only by crossing a tiny bridge across a small canyon. Before tourism recently discovered Bagnoregio, practically nobody lived there anymore. Now its permanent population rose to the staggering figure of about 11 people. However, you will find an extremely fascinating and charming village also thanks to its very unusual position, filled with little shops selling artisanal products and small restaurants and cafes.
Our next stop will be Orvieto, across into nearby Umbria region, a fascinating town which rises dramatically above the almost-vertical faces of tuff cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same stone. Its monumental Duomo with its magnificent Gothic facade, the Popes Palace, Piazza San Lorenzo and its beautifully preserved medieval quarter are a pleasure to see and visit. We will finally discover St. Patrick’s Well, an engineering feat built by the architect Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane between 1527 and 1537 on request of Pope Clemente VII who wanted to assure to Orvieto a water supply in case of siege after he had ran away from Rome.
We will then move to Bolsena a scenic town on the shores of Lake Bolsena and, on our way back to Viterbo, we will stop in Montefiascone, a quaint village with a superb view above the lake and the surrounding area. Here, on the panoramic terrace, we will enjoy an aperitivo at sunset (to be paid on the spot).
Viterbo: overnight stay.
Today you will be visiting the heart of Etruria, the area that was at the core of the Etruscan civilization.
The first stop will be in Tarquinia perched on a hill overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea. It is worth visiting for its beautiful medieval layout and monuments and for its nearby most impressive two Etruscan necropolis that feature incredibly colourful frescoes with lovely and lively subjects on the walls of the tumulus tombs many of which dug in the rock and surrounded by a natural setting.
In the town itself you will be visiting Palazzo Vitelleschi, a splendid example of Gothic/Renaissance architecture and also home of the Etruscan Museum, a must for the beautiful archeological finds here on display all coming from the necropolis that we will be visiting afterwards.
Next stop will be Tuscania with its beautiful historic centre with the warm colour of the buildings, palaces, squares, towers, churches, and splendid Baroque fountains, the Piazza del Comune with its Palazzo Baronale and dotted with monumental sarcophagus lids and its ancient Fonte delle sette Cannelle (Spring/Fountains of the seven spouts). You will leisurely walk through the Parco Tovarello dotted with monuments and with a splendid view overlooking the surrounding landscape and complete the visit with the San Pietro Cathedral built in the VII century which, with its majestic bareness and magic surroundings, will enchant you. Surrounding Tuscania there are also many minor Etruscan necropolis which you will be able to sea from the height of the San Pietro Cathedral location. Return to Viterbo for overnight stay.
Today’s itinerary will make you cross over into Tuscany and it will unravel through an area where the dominant geological feature is the tuff rock shaping the landscape and out of which the three hamlets you will be visiting are made of.
The first will be Pitigliano also known as “piccola Gerusalemme” (small Jerusalem) for the large Jewish population that used to live here, especially in proportion to the size of the village. The position where Pitigliano is located is definitively peculiar and very scenic: perched right at the edge of a vertical cliff of tuff rock hanging over a canyon. You will walk through its maze of streets and alleys, see its main attractions and visit the old ghetto, the synagogue from 1598, the oven where matzos were baked for Pesach and the cemetery.
The tour will then proceed to the lovely village of Sovana. Its main attractions date back from the medieval and Renassaince times such as Palazzo Pretorio, the Rocca Aldobrandesca, the Etruscan archeological area and some of the most incredible findings of the Etruscan period hosted in the local museum.
Last stop will be Sorano, practically engraved in the tuff rock of the cliff where the village was built. Also here you will visit this charming village, the old synagogue built in the 15th century in use until the 19th century when the local Jews moved to Pitigliano. Here you will also take a walk around its outdoor museum through Etruscan artefacts, narrow alleys all dug out from the tuff rock and more.
At the end return to Viterbo: preparation for Shabat.
After breakfast and check out we will be driving to Porto Santo Stefano for a luxury private boat excursion around the beautiful Argentario, a promontory linked to the mainland by three very narrow strips of land, and part of the Tuscan archipelago natural reserve, both so typically Mediterranean in their look and allure. Here natural beauty and landscapes shaped by men throughout the centuries, like fishermen villages or medieval watch towers built to spot in advance Moor pirate boats approaching the costs for plundering raids blend delightfully together. From the Argentario the excursion will continue to Isola di Giannutri, the wildest island of the Tuscan archipelago. Throughout the excursion you will have the opportunity to suntan on your luxury boat and to swim and snorkel in bays and coves with crystal clear water in all the shades of blue and green.
At the end of the day departure by deluxe car for Rome.
Check in the hotel by in Rome: overnight stay.
After breakfast and check out transfer to the airport terminal.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|From 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2023
OPTIONAL EXPERIENCES (we are open to satisfy any additional request you might have):
1) EXTRA DAY IN ROME TO VISIT SOME OF THE MANY ATTRACTIONS THAT WE COULD NOT INCLUDE IN THE 3 DAYS OF OUR TOUR;
2) SHOPPING SPREE IN A BRAND OUTLET;
3) WALKS AND HIKES IN ANY OF THE AREAS INCLUDED IN THE TOUR – i.e., ON THE APPENNINI MOUNTAINS, TO SECLUDED ARCHEOLOGICAL RUINS AND SITES, TO ISOLATED MONASTERIES OR CHURCHES, …
4) ITALIAN COOKING CLASS;
5) QUAD (in the Etruscan area of Cerveteri)/ GO KART / BICYCLE OR HORSE RIDES;
6) FEW HOURS SHOPPING SPREE IN A BRAND OUTLET;
KOSHER MEALS: starting from 1.370€ per person. Full-board with kosher certified pre-packaged meals, throughout the whole trip.
The tariff includes
The tariff does not include
Duration: 11 days / 10 nights
from € 2,390 - Excluding flights
Duration: 16 days / 15 nights
from € 2,800 - Excluding flights
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
from € 3,000
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