Darius Arya is the Director of the American Institute for Roman Culture. He has led excavations, including at the Roman site of Ostia Antica, and taught university programs in Italy. He is also a Fulbright Scholar, a fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and a guest scholar of the Getty Conservation Institute. He has appeared on HISTORY, National Geographic, and Discovery as well as BBC Radio 4 and CNN, and he hosted the PBS series Ancient Invisible Cities.
Booking and Availability
View Trip Details
Download a full
Throughout the bustling streets of modern-day Rome lie vivid reminders of one of history’s most far-reaching civilizations: the Roman Empire. Over five centuries, the likes of Trajan and Hadrian expanded Roman influence until it reached from Britannia to Egypt. At the same time, they transformed their capital city, building ports and palaces, vast arenas and elaborate baths—many of which still stand today. Join archaeologist and Wondrium Expert Darius Arya to go beyond the popular tourist track, discovering lesser-known sites and gaining a comprehensive understanding of the history, culture, and scope of the Roman Empire.
Following an itinerary inspired by Darius Arya’s book, Roma Antica, and his Wondrium course “Traveling the Roman Empire,” gather insights into ongoing excavations and preservation efforts as we travel from the port of Ostia Antica and the imperial villas of Tivoli to the very heart of Ancient Rome.
Arrive in Rome and transfer from the airport to our hotel in the city center. Late this afternoon, meet your fellow travelers and our Wondrium Expert Darius Arya for a guided walking tour of the city center, including iconic sites such as the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Piazza Navona, and the Via del Corso. Gather for a welcome dinner tonight at one of Darius’ favorite Roman restaurants, Ristorante Da Pancrazio. Admire the remains of the theater of Pompey below ground level and dine on typical pasta dishes of Rome such as bucatini all’amatriciana or carbonara.
Included Meals: Dinner
Hotel: Hotel Savoy
Venture into the Roman Forum on a guided tour this morning, gaining insights into the historical significance of its temples and monuments and learning about the daily life of the ancient Romans. After lunch on your own and free time to explore, head to beautiful Palatine Hill, where Romulus is said to have established the city in 753 B.C and where centuries of Roman emperors lived in decadent palaces. Explore the impressive ruins of imperial palaces, including the Domus Aurea, Nero’s architectural gem, which was lined in gold before being sacked by later emperors.
Included Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: Hotel Savoy
Journey toward the coast to Ostia Antica, an archaeological park where the ruins of Rome’s once-thriving ancient port city remain remarkably intact. Visit amphitheaters and private homes, meander through elaborate bathhouses and businesses still adorned with mosaics, and see the Thermopolium, an ancient café. After a seafood lunch, gain insight into middle-class life nearly 2000 years ago at the necropolis on Isola Sacra, an island created by the two channels of the Tiber river. Continue to the Museum of Roman Ships to view ancient vessels uncovered during the construction of Rome’s airport.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Join Darius Arya for a lecture after breakfast. Next visit the Circus Maximo, the site of an enormous stadium built for chariot races and gladiator games. Then venture underground, by special arrangement, to visit the Mithraeum, a temple built by a mysterious cult in the second century AD. Continue on foot to walk to the Case Romane del Coelio (subject to confirmation) The twenty rooms below the 4th-century basilica, opened by special arrangement, are beautifully decorated with a unique mix of pagan and early Christian frescoes offering and insight into daily life in ancient Roman times. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Baths of Diocletian, completed in 306 AD and exceptionally well preserved. The largest bath complex in the Roman Empire, these baths cover 32 acres and once accommodated up to 3,000 people. Enjoy a guided visit of the complex and the church and Charterhouse of Santa Maria degli Angeli, which Michelangelo designed to incorporate the magnificent ruins of the baths.
Travel east of Rome to the hilltop town of Tivoli, where Emperor Hadrian built a vast summer retreat known as Villa Adriana. Set off on a guided tour of this World Heritage site and discover the architectural and design elements that made it an “ideal city.” Enjoy lunch at a local country estate, sampling local wines, olive oils, and other delicacies that date back to the Ancient Romans. Return to Rome for an evening visit to the Centrale Montemartini museum, where an excellent collection of classical statues is displayed in a reimagined power station.
Accommodations: Hotel Bristol Berini or similar
This morning, enjoy a private tour of the Palazzo Colonna, an ornate palace that has been owned by the same family for more than 700 years. Stroll through halls and private apartments that rival Versailles in their grandeur, and visit the Roman baroque gallery, home to Renaissance masterpieces by Bronzino, Tintoretto, Caracci, and others. During a free afternoon, consider a guided visit to the Colosseum, a walking tour of the Jewish ghetto or the Trastevere district, or a visit to the Vatican. Tonight, celebrate our Roman sojourn amid stunning sculptures during a farewell dinner in the studio of Italian sculptors Canova and Tadolini.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Journey on The Jurassic Coast
The Savoy Hotel
a 4-star deluxe property, located on the elegant Via Veneto is an easy walk to the Spanish steps or the Villa Borghese, close to fine dining, cafes and elegant boutiques. A sophisticated hotel in a former 19th-century palace that blends a classic style with some contemporary touches. The 120 rooms are furnished in neutral, welcoming tones with all modern comforts, including complimentary wi-fi, kettle, flat screen TV, minibar with free water on arrival, air conditioning and a safe. The top floor offers a cozy restaurant and a roof garden with a magnificent view.
Journey on the Jurassic Coast
'The information imparted to us and the cultural experiences, were exciting and eye-opening. On this trip, I was able to completely relax and enjoy each day because Wondrium planned and executed this tour so well.”–Mark & Rachel Hendrickson
'Wondrium delivers. If you’re looking for an educational adventure with like-minded people, then this is a go-to.”
The well-planned pacing and cultural aspects. It wasn't just a canned touristy event but really showed a lot of the localities. Wondrium really went all out to make this a great tour.”– Teresa G. Love
Find out when new Journeys are announced or when tours are getting close to filling up, so you don’t miss out.
MADE IN PIXEL TOGETHER