We’ll visit the Borghese Gallery, famous to be the world’s greatest private collection of baroque art, housed in an elegant small palace with grounds and gardens built in 1610 by the Cardinal Scipione Borghese, Pope’s Paul V nephew.
Although the Gallery houses famous paintings we will focus mostly on the sculptural masterpieces carved by Bernini, the celebrated portrait of Napoleon’s sister Paolina Borghese, the decor of the rooms and the personality of the Cardinal Scipione Borghese, mastermind of the collection.
After (or before) the visit to the Gallery we’ll take a walk through the splendid Borghese Park: its gardens as they are now were remade in the early nineteenth century and offer memorable views of fountains and statues perfectly integrated into the landscape.
This tour will take us back to the times when the aristocracy reigned showing openly splendor, wealth, power.
During the high season the Borghese Gallery gets easily sold out, so it’s necessary to book it 2/3 weeks ahead of time.
Due to the fact that in its millenary life Rome was often destroyed and rebuilt in the same place, we can say that the modern Rome is built on top of the ancient one.
Everywhere we walk in the city put our feet above the remains of previous human activities: mosaic floors, fresco paintings, statues, columns, inscriptions, tombs. We don’t see them, but they are there, buried beneath the sediment of the time.
Below I listed a few archeological sites, excavated last century, which show very well evidence of the hidden growth of the city. If you are interested let’s see two of them and do an incredible journey back in time through the centuries!
The S. Clemens’ basilica, a church upon a church upon two roman buildings;
The Catacomb of Priscilla, house of the oldest iconography of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Child;
The Roman houses under the church of SS Giovanni e Paolo, place of martyrdom of two saints;
The Crypta Balbi, the backstage area of a theatre under a city block;
The Domus Aurea, a small gorgeous sample of the residence of the emperor Nero.
We are going to explore the Appian Way, also known as “the queen of roman roads”, the most famous long distance road built by the Romans. At that time it was the main connection to Naples and to Greece and Eastern Mediterranean Sea, and after the end of the Roman Empire, in the Middle Ages, it was long used by pilgrims and crusaders en route to the Holy Land.
Source of inspiration for countless artists, we’ll re-enact the scenery of this fascinating road when along its sides private residences, working activities, tombs and cemeteries followed one upon the other; exploring the imposing ruins of spectacular monuments perfectly situated in a romantic setting we’ll immerse ourselves in a reality linked to times past: the burial monument of Cecilia Metella; the chariot-racing of the emperor Massenzio; the massive Wall to resist the barbarian invasions; the arches of the aqueducts…
We’ll gain a special experience, really off the beaten path.
The Trastevere district looks like a medieval village with authentic folksy atmosphere that fascinate for the variety of colors, sounds and shapes.
It’s a picturesque area that combines the beauty of the humble architecture to the variety of the little shops in the streets and where pizza places, restaurants and coffee bars follow up likewise a merry go round.
Besides the magical atmosphere of the neighborhood we are going to see also extraordinary least-visited masterpieces of art by entering churches and noble mansions: the Galatea by Raphael, the Tempietto by Bramante, the basilica of S. Maria in Trastevere.
The Janiculum hill will be included in our tour as well: plenty of several patriotic monuments, the romantic view from the top encompasses all of the historic center of Rome and it’s one of the most breathtaking of the Eternal City.
A special tour off the beaten path, dedicated to a different Rome, less majestic, more intimate, very human.
We’ll visit three main basilicas which relevance is second only to S. Peter in the Vatican: St. Paul outside the wall, St. John in the Lateran, St. Mary the Major.
They were built long time ago with imposing architecture and with precious materials, and still today are splendid churches where art and faith are visibly interlaced.
We start exploring St. Paul outside the wall: for centuries it had been the largest roman basilica. The holy tomb of Saint Paul, who was never a pope, is preserved under the main altar surrounded by medallions with the portraits of all the popes to this day.
Soon after we enter the basilica of St. John in the Lateran, this was the official pope’s church for a millennium and is considered the mother church of all churches in the world; the most beautiful statues of the apostles ever carved in marble are here.
Last but not least St. Mary the Major, the main basilica in Rome dedicated to worship Mary Mother of God: it was built 431 A.D., its interior is one of the richest and best preserved in Rome.
Rome’s Jews first arrived in Rome in the second century B.C., but, although they are the oldest Jewish community in the world outside the Holy Land, because of various events happened most of all last century nowadays the visible memories of their bi-millennial presence in Rome are mainly concentrated in the area around “Via del Portico d’Ottavia” where in 1555 the “Ghetto” was set and still today many Roman Jews live and meet.
Over the years the area has grown into a beautiful neighborhood that combines jewish culture with the grandeur of Roman architecture.
To re-enact the long history of the Rome’s Jews we’ll take a walk in this area focusing on the signs and evidences of the Jewish past and present and in order to learn more we’ll visit the beautiful Great Synagogue: of orthodox cult, built in eclectic style in 1905, it includes the small but very rich Museum that houses many memories of the hebraic tradition, art and artisans.