On DAY 8, your English-speaking guide will pick you up for your full day tour of Rome. Visit Capitoline Hill to enjoy the spectacularpanorama of ancient temples, triumphal arches, the Palazzo Senatorio, basilicas and the Via Sacra, which surround the old Roman Forum. The Forum was the hub of political, religious and commercial life during republican and imperial days, and now forms one of the most historical archaeological complexes in the Western world. With our Rome in One Day tour, visit the nearby Piazza del Campidoglio, the elegant renaissance square designed by Michelangelo for Pope Paul III and adorned by the bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, father of the infamous emperor-gladiator Commodus. See the Circus Maximus of Ben Hur fame with its impressive views of the sprawling ruins of the Emperors’ Palaces on Palatine Hill. Your tour continues to visit the Colosseum and hear about the bloody gladiator combats, the wild animal games and astonishing events held there to satisfy the 70.000 excited Roman spectators. Circle around Piazza Venezia, dominated by the massive “wedding cake” marble monument erected in 1885 in the honor of King Victor Emmanuel II and drive to the Quirinal Palace, originally built by Popes in the 1580’s as their splendid summer residence, nowadays the official residence of the Italian President. Descend to the cascading waters of the Trevi Fountain, the grandest of Rome’s baroque fountains, still fed by an ancient 19 B.C. Roman aqueduct, and toss a coin into its gushing sprays to propitiate a sure return to the Eternal City. Stroll by the Spanish Steps, the favorite spot of European nobles on their Grand Tours as well as a haunt of poets, writers, and painters during the Romantic period. Pass Palazzo Chigi, seat of the government, and the nearby Italian Parliament as you make your way to Piazza Navona, the most loved meeting place of Romans today, embellished by Bernini’s fountains and the Pamphili Palace. After a visit inside the awe-inspiring Pantheon constructed by Emperor Hadrian in 120 B.C., spanned by a solid concrete dome, the largest in the world, enjoy a light lunch in one of the most characteristic restaurants of downtown Rome.
Continue the tour by visiting the fascinating remains of the patrician domus of the powerful families of the imperial era, complete with mosaics, wall decorations, polychrome floors, paving blocks, recreated with virtual reconstructions, graphics and videos. Visitors can take a virtual tour of a great domus of ancient Rome and see walls, rooms, peristyles, kitchens, baths, furnishings and decorations all come back to life. A new important sector has been added to the archaeological zone and museum. In the underground area opposite Trajan’s Column, visitors can admire the remains of a recently excavated monumental building: a great concrete platform, walls made of large blocks of travertine and tuff, remains of colossal columns made of single grey Egyptian granite blocks (the biggest to be found in ancient Rome), and bricked rooms with vaulted ceilings dating from the early years of the emperor Hadrian’s reign, according to stamps on the bricks. Finally, a virtual reconstruction of the Column gives you a close-up look at the bas-reliefs and the story they tell of Trajan’s military campaign: the conquest of Dacia, present day Romania \u2013 an extraordinary chapter of history that ended with the death of King Decebalus and the Roman emperor’s triumph.