Explore Rome's artistic past with experts
Dr Nigel Spivey or Olivia Dobell. When
the papacy returned to Rome in 1420,
after more than a century in exile,
Pope Martin V found the city in ruins.
Humanists, patrons and artists sought to
return Rome to its former glory, inspired
by the classical remains. This process
reached its climax under Pope Julius
II (1503-1513) in what is called the
‘High Renaissance’. He commissioned
Bramante to design the ‘new’ St Peter’s
Basilica, Michelangelo to paint the
Sistine Chapel ceiling and Raphael to
decorate the Stanze di Raffaello (papal
apartments). This Golden Age had its
centre at the Vatican and was defined
by a renewed interest in the culture of
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Fly from London to Rome with British Airways.
Transfer into the city centre for an orientation
tour, passing some of the highlights of ancient
Rome, including the Forum, Palatine Hill and
Colosseum. Continue to the Palazzo Massimo
Museum, which houses a treasure trove of
classical art, and the basilica of San Pietro in
Vincoli, where Michelangelo’s Moses is the
centrepiece of the tomb of Pope Julius II.
After a welcome dinner, stay 4 nights at Hotel
This morning visit the basilica of Santa Maria
degli Angeli, built inside the frigidarium of
the Baths of Diocletian. Continue to Quirinal
Palace, the Italian president’s sumptuous
official residence. Transfer to the basilica
of Sant’Agostino, a fine example of early
Renaissance architecture with statues by Andrea
and Jacopo Sansovino and a fresco by Raphael.
Nearby is Piazza Navona, built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian. Visit the Pantheon, which
contains the tombs of Raphael and Carracci as
well as several 15th-century paintings, including
a fresco of the Annunciation by Melozzo da
Forlì. End the morning’s tour at Santa Maria
Sopra Minerva, known for its colourful interior
and frescoes by Filippino Lippi. This afternoon,
visit Oratorio di Santa Lucia del Gonfalone,
a hidden gem also known as the ‘miniature
Sistine Chapel’. Proceed to the Farnese Palace,
now home to the French Embassy, for a special
guided tour to view the remarkable ceiling
fresco cycle by Annibale Caracci. (B)
Morning visit to the Capitoline Hill, where the
monumental civic piazza and palaces were
designed by Michelangelo. Housed inside are
the Capitoline museums, holding some of Italy’s
finest classical art collections. Nearby is Trajan’s
Column, which commemorates the Roman
emperor’s victory in the Dacian Wars. In the
afternoon, visit the Villa Medici, both a retreat and entertaining house for Cardinal Ferdinando
de’ Medici. See his studio with its mannerist
frescoes by Jacopo Zucchi and the wonderfully
manicured gardens, with panoramic views over
Rome. End today’s tour at the Roman altar
known as Ara Pacis. (B)
Today spend a full day in the Vatican City. Start
with an early morning visit to St Peter’s basilica,
before the crowds arrive. Michelangelo’s design
included the largest brick dome ever constructed,
which remains the tallest building in Rome. See
Michelangelo’s first major work, the Pietà, and
the Grottoes, Renaissance crypts containing
papal tombs. You will also have access to
the Treasury museum to see its collection of
liturgical relics, church ornaments and statues.
In the afternoon visit the Vatican Museums on a
semi-private tour in a small group with exclusive
access to the Bramante Staircase, the Cabinet
of Masks and the chapel of Nicholas V, which
are normally closed to the public. You will also
see the Pinacoteca, Upper Galleries and Raphael
Rooms. The tour ends in the Sistine Chapel,
where you will have an extended visit after the
crowds have departed. (B)
Morning tour of Villa Farnesina, built for
Agostino Chigi, a Sienese banker and the richest
man in Renaissance Rome. The villa’s interior
features several important works including
Raphael’s Triumph of Galatea. Continue to
the church of San Pietro in Montorio, home to Bramante’s Tempietto tomb. This circular
sanctuary is perfectly proportioned and its
Tuscan columns and Doric entablature highlight
the reported spot of St Peter’s martyrdom. After
a farewell lunch, transfer to the airport for a
flight to London with British Airways. (B, L)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast,
L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
This tour is fully escorted
throughout by the lecturer, as well as an
experienced local guide.
Typically based in 3- and 4-star
This tour involves some long walks
and therefore requires a good level of fitness.
Due to the fluid nature of opening and
closing times of the churches and museums in
Rome, the specified day for each excursion may
need to be altered closer to the departure date.
Due to 2016 being a Catholic Jubilee year, some
visits may change without warning and churches
may be crowded.
Dr Nigel Spivey is a senior
lecturer in Classics at the
University of Cambridge,
teaching classical art
and archaeology. He has
written extensively on the
Etruscans and Olympic Games; his books
include The Ancient Olympics, Greek Art, and
Panorama of the Classical World. He has also
presented various television series.
Andrew Allen studied
history of art at the
University of East Anglia
and obtained his MA in
medieval paintings at
the University of Essex.
He worked for Phillips Auctioneers and
lectured on history of art. Andrew has
recently traversed Europe, the Middle
East and North Africa, leading tours and
researching early Christian and Islamic art.
The Hotel Victoria Roma is situated in the city centre, 1 km from the famous Spanish Steps. The property was originally built as private residence in 1899 and was later converted into a hotel. It has kept its original character with high ceilings and large windows. From the terrace, guests can enjoy a panoramic view of the Aurelian Walls and the famous pine trees of Villa Borghese Gardens. The hotel's restaurant focuses on regional specialities and the bar Victoria has a 1950s decor and serves classic...
Dr Nigel Spivey is a senior
lecturer in classics at the
University of Cambridge,
teaching Classical art
and archaeology and
its reception in the
Renaissance. He has written
extensively on the history of art; titles
include Greek Art, Enduring Creation and
How Art Made the World (the latter was a
major BBC / PBC television series).
Regional air connections are available from within the UK. Please contact your travel consultant for current prices from your nearest city.
We can also arrange flights from overseas, simply give us a call to find out more.
If you choose to take the tour without flights arranged through Cox & Kings, please contact one of our travel consultants prior to booking the flights to ensure that you are aware of the tour timings and all the implications of not booking through us. We strongly advise you not to book flights independently of Cox & Kings if significant charges would apply in case of cancellation.
Flight details may be subject to change prior to departure.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
RER2016: 4 Nights