For over 2,000 years, the obelisks of imperial Egypt, older than Rome itself, have been at the heart of the city's story. Erected by emperors as symbols of their power, they were excavated centuries later by popes, so that they could be set up again as centrepieces of the new city. Ancient Egypt, seen not only as a civilisation of legendary wealth and power, but also as the guardian of occult knowledge, inspired scholars, artists and architects, and has left its mark throughout Rome, in its streets and buildings as well as its museums and galleries.
Learn about Rome's Egyptian past in conjunction with the Egypt Exploration Society.
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Fly from London to Rome with British Airways. Transfer to the hotel, stopping en route at the Mausoleum of Augustus and the Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace) to begin the story of Rome's obelisks with the emperor who brought the first obelisks to the city. After an orientation lecture, there will be a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Stay at the Hotel Victoria for 4 nights. (D)
Today is dedicated to the splendours of the Vatican, starting early to avoid the crowds. In the Piazza San Pietro is the only obelisk in Rome to remain standing over the centuries, a landmark for pilgrims and the subject of strange superstitions. Take a guided visit of the basilica, a masterpiece by Michelangelo with the largest brick dome ever constructed, and its treasury. In the afternoon, tour the Vatican Museums, focusing on the Egyptian elements, and also including the Pinacoteca, with paintings by Raphael, Caravaggio and Da Vinci. (B)
Start at the iconic Spanish Steps, a focal point for English travellers on the Grand Tour, overlooked by the house where Keats died, and the stunning setting for the Trinità dei Monti church and its obelisk. Continue to Monte Pincio to see the obelisk commemorating an emperor's lost love, and the magnificent Piazza del Popolo with its sphinxes and an obelisk that once graced the Circus Maximus. Proceed through the green oasis of the Borghese Gardens, landscaped in the English style, by way of an Egyptian temple gateway and the gardens' beautiful lakes and fountains, to the Galleria Borghese and its Egyptian Room. Lunch (payable locally) can be taken at the Galleria, while the rest of the day is spent at leisure viewing the superb collection of statues by Bernini, including his Apollo and Daphne, and paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael, Rubens, Titian and others. (B)
In the morning, visit the glorious and recently restored Trevi Fountain and the obelisks of the Piazza Montecitorio, home to the Italian Chamber of Deputies. Continue to the Piazza del Quirinale and visit the sumptuous Quirinal Palace, official residence of the Italian president. This afternoon, explore the area of the ancient Campus Martius, or Field of Mars. Start at the lively and elegant Piazza Navona, still preserving the shape of the ancient Stadium of Domitian, with its trio of baroque fountains, including an obelisk of Domitian set on Bernini's flamboyant Fountain of the Four Rivers. Next, see the obelisk on an elephant in Piazza Santa Minerva, on the site of the Roman temple of Isis, and then the obelisk of the Piazza Rotonda and the Pantheon, its dome a masterpiece of Roman engineering, with the tomb of Raphael. (B)
On the final day, visit Rome's only surviving pyramid, built as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, and the graves of Keats and Shelley, before continuing to San Giovanni in Laterano and its obelisk, the largest Egyptian obelisk still standing in the world. After a farewell lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to the airport for the return flight to London with British Airways. (B, L)
As per itinerary - B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
This tour is run in partnership with the Egypt Exploration Society and a contribution from each tour helps fund their work.
This tour is fully escorted throughout by the lecturer, as well as an experienced local guide.
Chris Elliott researches, writes, lectures, and has broadcast on architectural and cultural history, specialising in the influence of Ancient Egypt. He has written for a wide variety of scholarly and general readership publications. Egypt in England, his book on Egyptian-inspired architecture in England, was published by English Heritage and accompanied by an exhibition.
Based in 4-star accommodation.
This tour involves a considerable amount of walking and standing and therefore requires a good level of fitness.
Due to the fluid nature of opening and closing times of the churches and museums, the specified day for each excursion may 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.
Tour + Rome
3 Days & 2 Nights from £175
Extend your stay at Hotel Victoria for further independent sightseeing in the Eternal City. Includes airport transfer.
British Airways Club Europe from £295 return.
British Airways to / from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, Manchester or Belfast from £75 return.
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...
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.
ESR2016: 4 Nights
For centuries, the island of Cyprus has
attracted the major powers of the
Mediterranean, resulting in a colourful
mosaic of cultures and traditions.
Northern Cyprus is a quiet haven of