Roads to Rome
Tour Code: S116
Two marches on Rome, 1500 years apart
We’re delighted to be working with Professor Catherine Fletcher of Manchester Metropolitan University on a new tour based on her upcoming book: “Roads to Rome.” Part history book, part road trip, this will be an exploration of travel and travellers on the Roman road network across two millennia.
Rome has only ever been successfully invaded twice from the south. On this tour, which features Catherine as a guest guide, we broadly learn about the highlights of two dramatic campaigns side by side as you follow the Appian Way from Bari, with an essential detour via Naples, to the Italian capital. You’ll track Belisarius, ‘last of the Romans’ on his way to recapture Rome in the 530s, alongside the Allied landings of 1943 and the march along ’the queen of the roads,’ via Monte Cassino. In doing so, you’ll learn all about the importance of Rome’s roads.
Tour Type: Standard
Scheduled Dates: 16th - 25th September 2024
Price: From £1529
Tour Code: S116
Day 1 - We fly to the port city of Bari on Italy's Adriatic coast. Check into hotel and assemble for welcome drinks and dinner. Overnight hotel in Bari.
Day 2 - A walking tour around the fortified old town of Bari and visit to the Roman archaeological site beneath the city's cathedral. After a tasting lunch at a local Pugliese restaurant, we visit Egnazia's Roman city archaeological park to see a section of the Appian Way and learn about the importance of the road network to the Roman Empire. Overnight hotel in Bari.
Day 3 - We drive through the hilly landscape that faced the Romans as they built the Appian Way--and also proved a challenge to the Allies as they fought their way up the Italian peninsula more than a thousand years later. Our first stop is Cannae, site of a key victory for Hannibal and his Carthaginian troops, and one that led to the Romans banning crying. We’ll learn why Hannibal didn’t follow up this stunning victory, before visiting Benevento and the Arch of Trajan, marking that emperor's project to improve the roads. After lunch a short drive to our hotel in Naples.
Day 4 - We begin the day with a walking tour of Naples, taking in key sights from the Second World War period, including the Fascist-era Post Office, bombed by the retreating Nazis, and the underground city, where ancient cellars were repurposed as air raid shelters. After lunch it's a short drive to Salerno, where we will explore Operation Avalanche on the streets and at the local museum dedicated to the Allied landings. Overnight in Ercolano
Day 5 - We can’t just drive past it! Today we visit the world famous site of Pompeii. This is a bucket list opportunity to explore the town obliterated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD.
If there are enough group members who have seen Pompeii before and would like an alternative day, we will take a second group to Herculaneum and for a close up look at the volcano itself. Overnight in Ercolano.
Day 6 - We begin the day at Monte Cassino, where we visit the rebuilt medieval monastery and hear the story of the battle that led to its destruction. We then follow the Appian Way through the Pontine Marshes with a pause for lunch. In the afternoon we visit Anzio and Nettuno and see the small museum. Then it’s on to Rome to check in to our hotel.
Day 7 - We start with a trip to Fosse Ardeatine, where during the Occupation of Rome members of the resistance were massacred by the SS. There we see the memorial and small museum before taking a tour ancient catacombs. After lunch we visit nearby Frattocchie and see recent excavations of a Roman road before taking our own walk along a section of the Appian Way. Final group dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 8 - Check out of hotel in Rome for flights home.
OPTIONAL ROME ADD ON (Subject to confirmed numbers)
Not been to Rome before? Still have things to see? We offer this add on to the trip for those who want to spend some time being guided around one of the world’s finest cities.
Day 8 - Today we begin with a look at a unique layered church in Rome that has a Pagan temple (complete with sacrificial altar), with an early Christian place of worship built on top, crowned with a renaissance church. Then it’s on to a full, guided tour of the Colosseum, where new renovations now allow you to explore the underground level. After a guided walk through the forum, we will pay our respects at Italy’s impressive tomb of the unknown soldier, with its permanent guard and eternal flame. After dinner, we’ll take a night stroll to the Trevi Fountain for gelato.
Day 9 - The only way to see Rome properly is on foot. Today we’ll put our walking shoes on and make sure we don’t miss anything. We start at the Vatican, with the magnificent St. Peter’s, including the view from the top of the dome and the Sistine Chapel. Then we work our way across the Tiber and through the city via Piazza Navona, on to the magnificent Pantheon. We then continue on to finish the day at a museum dedicated to a unique aspect of Italy’s military history, the famous Bersaglieri with their black feathered hats.
Day 10 - Check out of hotel in Rome for flights home
This itinerary is also available as a bespoke/private tour for groups. It can also be adjusted to cater for more specific interests. Please enquire for availability.
YOUR TOUR INCLUDES:
Airport transfers to and from Bari/Rome
Air conditioned transport
3 & 4* hotel accommodation with breakfast
Entry to museums and sites
Additional local guides
YOUR TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE:
Lunches and evening meals
Meet the Team
Our guest guide Catherine Fletcher is the brains behind this tour, which
is based on her forthcoming book Roads to Rome. She'll be joining us at points on the tour to talk all about the Appian Way and the importance of Roman Roads.
A historian of Italy, Catherine specialises in early modern Europe – the world of the Tudors, Medici and Borgias. Her past books include The Beauty and the Terror, on sixteenth-century Italy, The Black Prince of Florence, a biography of Duke Alessandro de’ Medici, and Our Man in Rome/The Divorce of Henry VIII, about the nefarious diplomacy behind the famous marital split. She also worked as an adviser to the set team on Wolf Hall and broadcasts widely on Italian Renaissance history.
Alex will be present for all your WW2 needs on this trip, from Operation Avalanche and Anzio, to Monte Cassino. She definitely won't be able to stop herself pointing out anything to do with WW1 on route, and is ready to answer all of your military history questions.
Dan is our go-to guide for Ancient Rome. He's still a bit bewildered at the idea that people might pay to listen to him talk about something he is so passionate about! He'll be on hand at Cannae, Naples, and in Rome to describe some of the most famous ancient sites in the world.