The Aesthetic Evolution of Raphael at Vatican Museums

One of the best examples of the gradual evolution of Raphael’s style can be found in the Papal Apartments of the Vatican.

Four magnificent rooms known as “Le Stanze di Raffaello”  that were the Papal residence between 1507-1585.

 

 

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Though the order of the rooms does not reflect  the chronology of when Raphael created the frescos, viewers can appreciate the ever changing  style of Raphael as executed into each scene. Influences of great artists such as Bramante, Michelangelo and Leonardo are evident while still maintaining the artist’s personal touch.


The first room that can be visited is the Room of Costantine, dedicated to the life of the first Christian Emperor who symbolically donated the city of Rome to the Pope in charge during his time, Pope Sylvester I and his successors . Even if this room carries an important meaning, it is the last room that Raphael painted, therefore only the preparatory cartoons were executed by the artist himself while the majority of the painting was carried out by his pupils due to Raphael’s premature death.


The second room is the Room of Heliodorus. The frescos were created towards the end of his career between 1511-1514, about 6 years before his death. The most impressive artistic achievement in this room is the Liberation of S. Peter. In this scene Raphael masters his ability to depict glowing and moving light, working in a medium that  does not allow the gradual manipulation of colors.


Effects of this kind were unparallel by Raphael’s contemporaries until the arrival of Caravaggio almost 100 years later. The frescos in this room also reflects Raphael’s observation of Michelangelo’s style in the Sistine Chapel. In fact the two artists were working in the Vatican at the same time.


The muscular density and powerful solidarity that classifies Michelangelo’s figures are borrowed by Raphael beginning with the School of Athens in the following room.

The Room of the Signature is perhaps the most celebrated works of Raphael’s career. With respect to the chronology of the artist, we are actually moving back in time, viewing the first room that he was commissioned to paint at the young age of 25.


A clear transition  in Raphael’s style is evident in viewing the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament and the School of Athens side by side.  In the latter painting is where we also see an homage to Raphael’s biggest rival. The representation of a philosopher, Heraclitus with the resemblance of  Michelangelo is prove of Raphael’s admiration for his contemporary. After seeing his masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo became an idol for the young artist.


The last part of the tour shows the forth room, which lends its name to a fire that broke out in the 9th Century in a neighborhood of the Vatican called the Borgo.

Let StefanoRomeTours and their team of licensed tour guides take you back in time to relive the crucial moments that marked Raphael’s career. This description only scratches the surface of the many historically nuances that are present in Raphael’s frescos.

Do you have any favorite artists or pieces of art inside the Vatican Museum? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.

 

Thank you for stopping by and reading our blog.

with love,

the Stefano Rome Tours team 

 

Visit our Vatican Tour

 

 

 

 

 

What to Wear in Rome, Italy

 

A popular question many people visiting rome for the first time ask is what to wear in Rome?
Our answer is: first and foremost, be comfortable!

 

 

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Type of Shoes to wear in Rome

Whether you are spending a holiday in Rome, or are sightseeing on a shore excursion from Civitavecchia, what you plan to wear is very important for comfort, safety, convenience and style.

Many streets in Rome (and Italy alike) are made of cobblestone, are sometimes uneven, and other times uphill.

Comfortable shoes  are key. We do not suggest flip flops because they don’t offer any  support, exposes your bare feet to accidents (think stubbing your  toe, cuts from sharp objects, getting stepped on in busy buses and  Metros), as well as infection should you experience a cut.

White sneakers can and will get dirty, and if you want to pack less by being able to mix and match as many things as possible, white sneakers may not match everything or transit well from day to night.

Comfortable walking shoes, preferably dark in color to withstand dirt, are the most practical way to go.

During the summer sandals are more popular due to the heat, so make sure your sandals cover and protect your feet as much as possible and have comfortable soles. If your walking shoes and sandals are not overly casual, you can continue to wear them from day to night (unless you choose to dress up for a special evening).

Please do not try to break in new shoes on your vacation; you’ll be walking a lot and your feet will suffer if your shoes don’t fit properly.

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Shorts, tank tops, and other summer attire in Rome:

There’s no fashion police in Rome that will stop you for wearing tank tops, shorts, or mini skirts, but many churches will prevent you from walking in under-dressed.

Under no circumstance can you walk inside the major churches like St Peter’s without your shoulders and knees covered. Yes, there is the Vatican “fashion police” who will measure you up and down to see if you’re dressed properly. It’s worse than Project Runway, and equally embarrassing when you’re told to leave because you’re showing too much shoulder and leg. And it’s quite irritating if you just spent 40 minutes under the hot sun of the piazza waiting in line to enter the piazza.

Lesser known churches are often understaffed, and they may not prevent under-dressed visitors from entering, but it’s a matter of respect and it’s nice to cooperate.

If you plan to visit churches on any given day, dress accordingly in advance, or bring a shawl to cover your shoulders (ladies), and wear shorts and skirts that at least cover your knees. Convertible pants are great because you can switch from shorts to long as needed.

 

Jeans:

Yes, Italians wear jeans, especially younger people given the wide variety of denim styles available. Middle age Italian men and women wear jeans too, although less often.

If in doubt, slacks and dockers are a great choice because they are light, great for any occasion, and easy to mix and match.

 

Casual or dressy?

What can we say? It’s Italy, the land of Armani, Prada, Versaci and Valentino, so Italians know style. It’s in their DNA it seems.

But it doesn’t mean you have to spend your vacation dressed up in the latest style. While we advise you NOT to worry about being stylish, we do recommend you dress in whatever way makes you feel good about yourself, you’re comfortable in, and you like being photographed with because you’ll want to take a lot of photos on your trip and show them to everyone!

If you’d like a more specific example of what to wear, one of our clients had her rule of thumb: dress like you’re going to lunch at a nice restaurant with your in-laws.

If you’d like to transform from a day of sightseeing to a dinner out afterwards without changing wardrobe, for men a sports jacket goes a long way. For ladies, a nice shawl over the shoulders or a nice jacket are also great for dinner out…and practical for the cooler Mediterranean evenings.

 

Hats

We love hats! Winter, summer, and everything in between, there’s never a wrong time to wear hats. In the winter hats keep your warm, in the summer it keeps the sun off your head and face.

Don’t worry about baseball hats. If you love them, wear them! And if you don’t want to bring your own hat, there are plenty to be found in Rome in all sorts of colors and styles.

At the time this article is written, fedoras are a huge hit in Rome with tourists and locals alike. Ladies, hats are also great if you’re not having a particularly great hair day. Hats are both functional and fashion accessories!

 

Climate

Before leaving for your trip, it’s always a good idea to check the weather in advance. It’s not always accurate, but it gives you a general idea of what to expect so you can bring appropriate clothing.

During the spring, summer and fall months, the Mediterranean climate allows for cool mornings and evenings, and much warmer during the day. If you plan to be out throughout the day including morning or evening, a good rule of thumb is to dress like an onion: in layers. This way you can take off layers as it gets warmer, and add them as it gets cooler.

With so many luxurious as well as affordable shops in Rome, you can always add to your vacation wardrobe and create your own style.

So next time you worry about looking touristy in Italy, here’s a secret: Italians already know you are a tourist, so forget about it, have fun, and embrace being a tourist because we love you no matter what!

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Do you have any fashion tips and ideas to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.

Sharing is fun: If you found this article helpful, please pass it along to anyone who might benefit from it.

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 Thank you for visiting our blog.

With love,

The Stefano Rome Tours Team

 

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Discover Caravaggio on your Rome Shore Excursion!

.Caravaggio’s art directly inspired from reality reflects his life, grandiose and dramatic at the same time.

From Milan to Rome and from Sicily to Malta, Caravaggio went from artistic residences to various prisons during his adventurous life that tragically ended in 1610 at the young age of 39.

 

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Even if he lived a short life, this gifted artist started a revolutionary art, influencing the majority of European painters.

 

Caravaggio Painting at San Luigi dei Francesi Church

Caravaggio Painting at San Luigi dei Francesi Church

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Caravaggio’s masterpieces changed the history of painting giving the spectators the new role of eye witnesses who are engaged in the action occurring right in front of them. Standing in front of one of his paintings, one can feel alone in a crowded room surrounded only by the beauty of his art.

No other artist of the past has been able to communicate so intensively with its audience.


Even though writers of his time always struggled with praising his talent in light of his tainted past; today it’s hard to distinguish the two souls of this man and artist.

His tragic death was almost seen at the time as a divine punishment for a sinful life, but today it is just considered a mystery behind the life of one of the greatest artist in history.

He was an honest artist communicating through his art both artistic style and biography with no filters nor obstacles.

 

Caravaggio inside St Maria del Popolo Church

Caravaggio inside St Maria del Popolo Church

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Discover the masterpieces of Caravaggio that are scattered around Rome on a guided tour that will surprise you! From Santa Maria del Popolo Church and San Luigi  dei Francesi Church to Doria Pamphilj and Borghese Gallery you can retrace this artist’s fascinating life.


Stefano Rome Tours offers
shore excursions from Civitavecchia Port  to take you to the most important galleries and churches of Rome that proudly display her most treasured pieces.

Do you have a favorite artist whose art you admire? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.

Thank you for stopping by and reading our blog.

With love,

the Stefano Rome Tours team

 

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World Renown Mosaic Studio in the Heart of The Vatican

Hidden between two arches, in the shadow of the Sala delle Audienze of the Pope lies the small Studio of the Mosaic, one of the many treasures of the Vatican that is overlooked by most visitors. This studio contributes greatly to the art production and restoration of  the Vatican.

In the 16th century under Pope Gregory XIII, Venetian  mosaic craftsmen were called to Rome to teach the mosaic technique to the locals . By doing so they helped establish the first permanent team of Roman mosaic craftsmen.

Originally the mosaic studio was created to decorate parts of the Basilica such as the Gregorian Chapel and the Dome of Michelangelo, however the technique proved to be one of the most successful decorative styles and was extended to all the cupolas of the Basilica.

After two centuries of hard work, the Roman studio surpassed the Venetian production by creating over 26,000 color tonalities. In order to obtain a vast variety of shades, the craftsmen melted pre-existing colors together in a kiln built in the 1700’s inside the Vatican and that’s when the Studio became a permanent installation.

Around 1770 another revolutionary discovery reaffirmed the importance of the Studio worldwide. Two of the most prominent mosaic painters, Raffaelli and Aguatti, invented the filate enamels. This technique consists of re-melting the tiles, creating a malleable substance that can be stretched very thin to form minuscule pieces, sometimes smaller than 1 millimeter.

From that moment on, the mosaics produced in the Vatican were more beautiful and elegant than ever before. These small tiles could also be used to decorate jewelry and small everyday objects, setting off the commissions of the high aristocracy of Rome and the world to create one of a  kind gifts.

In fact to this day, the Studio of the Mosaics still executes works of any size on private commissions, many of which come from the United States.

The same exclusive group of artisans who work on commission from the pope also create unique mosaics  for the public which of course come with a hefty price tag.

If you want to   be one of the few people that discovers the beauty of this fascinating art studio join the exclusive private tour of the Vatican offered by StefanoRomeTours!

You can see the artisans at work and ask them questions, touch the precious pieces of glass kept in the laboratory chromatically organized, see the kiln of the 1700’s and visit the unique show room of some of the best works of the private collection. If you can’t afford a commission work this tour will at least give you a once in a lifetime experience at a much lower price!

Do you have a favorite piece of Mosaic Art you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.

Sharing is fun! If you enjoyed this article, please share with others who would enjoy it as well.

Thank you for stopping by and reading our blog.

With love,

the Stefano Rome Tours team

 

Rome in a Day from Civitavecchia

The Cruise Port of Civitavecchia is a very popular destination for cruises in Italy, and if you are arriving by cruise ship to the port, then you really should spend a thrilling day in Rome, one of the most fascinating and historically significant cities in the world.

 

We highly recommend the Rome Day From Civitavecchia Tour. This is a fabulous hassle-free way of visiting the city directly from Civitavecchia, without having to worry about how to get to Rome, or what you should see and visit when you actually reach the Eternal City.

This is because you will be picked up at the ports’ pier at 8.30 AM by your private English speaking Driver and then driven to Rome in your private deluxe vehicle, where you will be provided with an excellent day’s itinerary, before being retuned to the pier at around 5.30 PM.

 

Enjoy a video of our Rome in A Day from Civitavecchia shore excursion:

 

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This tour from Stefano Rome Tours will take you through the highlights of the city, and even before reaching Rome you will be able to enjoy the beautiful and ancient Etruscan landscape  en route.

The comfortable drive to the capital takes just over an hour on the Roman countryside highway, and your personal driver will point out to you all the places of interest on the way, as well as answer any questions you may have about the tour.

Rome has numerous sights and attractions to visit, from ancient Roman ruins to baroque churches and much, much more. As you can see below in the ‘Tour Highlights’, you will in fact be covering the city’s most famous sights, such as the Colosseum, Sistine Chapel, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain, so you can be rest assured that you will get the most out of your one day tour of Rome!

As always, remember that there is a dress code on entering churches in Italy, so please make sure that your shoulders and knees are all covered.

 

Tour Highlights


Drive by Pyramid of Caius Cestio :: Circus Maximus :: Colosseum :: Vatican Museum :: Sistine Chapel :: St. Peter’s Basilica :: Pantheon :: Trevi Fountain

Pick up time: approximately 8.00am
Return time: approximately 5.30pm

 

For more information about this and other exciting shore excursions from Civitavecchia, please CLICK HERE or visit our website at www.StefanoRomeTours.com. We look forward to showing you our Eternal City!

 

Thank you for stopping by and reading our blog.

with love,

the Stefano Rome Tours team

 

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Assisi Tour: The Fascinating Birthplace of St. Francis

The word ‘Assisi‘ is synonymous with St Francis, the patron saint of animals, the environment and Italy. In fact, he is probably the best loved saint in Italy and one of the most well known in the world.

The Assisi Tour takes us to his beautiful birthplace in the Umbrian region, Assisi, close to Perugia and over 400 meters above sea level.

 

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click to watch the Video

 

A short bio on St. Francis of Assisi: Francesco was born in 1182 or 1183 to a wealthy family, his father being a rich cloth merchant and his mother was originally from France. Throughout his early life there were signs of the man he was later to become, the founder of the Order of Friars Minor, or the Franciscans.  

The current pope, Pope Francis, also chose the name of Saint Francis.

 

St Francis, San Damiano Monastery in Assisi

St Francis, San Damiano Monastery in Assisi

 

There are many stories of his kindness to animals and fellow human beings, and of his fondness of the environment. It was around 1209 that St. Francis totally gave up all his worldly goods and took up a life of poverty.

He wore just a woollen robe, which was fastened only by a knotted rope and went about rebuilding churches and ministering to people. Others followed him and also vowed to a life of poverty, and the new order was borne.

St. Francis died on October 3, 1226 and every year on the 4th of October his Feast Day takes place, honouring the saint’s charitable life and achievements.

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The Assisi Day Tour starts off by picking you up at your hotel and then we will head to Assisi via the beautiful countryside of Lazio and Umbria. Your professional driver will of course also point out the the major points of interest en route.

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SANTA MARIA DEGLI ANGELI

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.St Maria degli Angeli

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Our first stop will be the Basilica of St. Maria degli Angeli, the place where St. Francis passed away in 1226.

Here you will have the opportunity to see the sacred Porziuncola, around which the basilica was built.

 

ASSISI

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Saint Francis Basilica in Assisi and PAX garden

Saint Francis Basilica in Assisi and PAX garden

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Next we will visit the burial place of St. Francis, namely the Basilica of St. Francis which was built straight after his canonisation in 1228.

We will then make our way down to the town’s main square, Piazza del Comune, which is also home to a very interesting Roman archaeological site, and the Temple of Minerva that once was a 1st century BC pagan temple and later converted into a beautiful Baroque church whose interior resembles a jewel box.

 

Santa Chiara Basilica in Assisi

Santa Chiara Basilica in Assisi

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Our last stop in Assisi itself will be the Basilica of St. Clare (Santa Chiara). St. Clare was one of the first women to join St. Francis’ ministry in 1212.

Her preserved body is on display in a crypt in the basilica, along with garments worn by both St. Francis and St. Clare, as well as some locks of St. Clare’s hair that St. Francis cut off when she joined his ministry.

 

San Damiano Monastery in Assisi

San Damiano Monastery in Assisi

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Our final stop is just outside Assisi, the small and simple Church of San Damiano. This is where St. Francis had his calling; after hearing the crucifix telling him to ‘rebuild my church’, he did exactly that.  The original crucifix hangs inside the Basilica of Saint Claire.  St. Clare herself spent most of her life until she died there in 1253.

Important to know: To enter any of the churches, you will have to have your shoulders and knees covered, otherwise you will be refused entry!
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Assisi Tour Highlights:


Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli :: Basilica of St. Frances :: Piazza del Commune :: Basilica of Santa Chiara :: San Damiano Monastery

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Learn more about our popular Assisi Tour by visiting our website at www.StefanoRomeTours.com

Thank you for stopping by and reading our blog.

with love,

the Stefano Rome Tours team

 

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A Splendid Wine Tasting Tour

Italy is famous for a vast array of products, from the haute couture created in Milan’s fashion houses to the world famous wines from the Chianti region.

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And if you like to think of yourself as a wine connoisseur, or if you simply enjoy a tipple now and again, then our Wine Tasting Tour would be ideal.

 

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.Not only do you get a chance to discover some of our best wines, but you can also sample some very tasty region delicacies, while also getting to see two fascinating towns, Orvieto in Umbria and Montepulciano in Tuscany.

 

ORIVETO,  UMBRIA

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The tour first takes us to Orvieto, which has been producing wine since the Middle Ages. We will first visit the Cantina Foresi at the Piazza Duomo. Here you will be able to taste the town’s most famous wine, the ‘Orvieto Classico‘, along with other fine white wines and some delicious local foods, such as wild boar and pork salamis, porchetta colonnata and an excellent range of cheeses.

After the tasting you can take a tour of the cellar and then you will have the opportunity to buy any of the wines that you just tasted.

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Orvieto, Umbria

Orvieto, Umbria

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Orvieto is also worth visiting for its tourist sights, especially the 14th century cathedral, and you will have time to admire the building, as well as stroll around the town’s shops, many of which sell Orvieto’s other famous product, namely ceramics.

 

MONTEPULCIANO, TUSCANY

 

We now continue to the charming hill-town of Montepulciano in the beautiful Chianti region of Tuscany. This town is great for walking, as the centre is almost free of traffic.

 

Montepulciano, Tuscany

Montepulciano, Tuscany

 

Here we will taste both red and white wines, the most famous being Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano, and we will follow this with a visit to a vineyard and olive grove.

After tasting some of the palatable delights that Montepulciano offers, you will have time to discover the town itself, including the shops and attractions.

There is the 17th century Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Palazzo Comunale, which was designed by Michelozzo in the same tradition as the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence, and also the town’s impressive castle, which was the site of many a battle between the locals and the Republic of Siena.

 

Montepulciano, Tuscany

Montepulciano, Tuscany

 

One of our most popular tours, the Wine Tour is both relaxing and interesting, and with the added bonus of trying some authentic regional food and wine!

 

Tour Highlights

Orvieto :: Montepulciano

Pick up time: approximately 8.00am

Return time: around 6.00pm to 7.00pm

Full tour details can be found here: http://www.stefanorometours.com/tours/winetasting/

 

Thank you for stopping by and reading our blog.

with love,

the Stefano Rome Tours team

 

 

 

Christian Rome – Day tour in Rome

A visit to Rome would not be complete without a tour of some of the city’s best known Christian monuments and landmarks, which include the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Wall and of course the Vatican, home to St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

 

 

Our Christian Rome Tour available as a day tour from Rome or a shore excursion from Civitavecchia, will introduce you to the main points of interest that made Rome the centre of Christianity, and you will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Saints, Popes, and ancient Romans who have contributed to what Rome is today.

Due to magnificent architecture, world famous paintings and sculptures, as well as remarkable frescoes, as all of these spiritually significant sites have a very important and interesting history and are part of Italy’s cultural heritage.

 

 

We start at the Circus Maximus, the enormous ancient Roman stadium at the foot of Palatine Hill where the chariot races took place (think Ben Hur).

 

From here, we continue to one of the four great basilicas of Rome, St. Paul Outside-the-Wall, which was built by Emperor Constantine and said to be located above the burial ground of Saint Paul.

 

 

Continuing along the Appian Way, the 2000-year old road that leads to Apulia and Brindisi and where Spartacus and his army were crucified, we will make our way to the ancient catacombs. It is here where the early Christians would bury their dead or hold church services out of sight from the public, due to a fear of persecution.

Before stopping off for some lunch we will continue the tour to Piazza Venezia and the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, which was dedicated to the first king of Italy.

After enjoying a delicious traditional Roman lunch it is now time to head towards the Vatican, noted as one of the world’s smallest states and more importantly home to the Pope and the Catholic Church.

You will be given the chance to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with its amazing ceiling painted by Michelangelo. After viewing the masterpieces found in the Vatican, the tour will take us to the Pantheon, once the temple to all Roman gods, it remains one of the best preserved Roman buildings.

Just around the corner from here is our penultimate destination, the city’s largest Baroque fountain, the instantly recognisable Trevi Fountain, where visitors throw in a coin to be assured of a return visit to Rome.

Our tour finally ends at the Spanish Steps, where you can take a rest and enjoy a tasty Italian gelato before we set off back home.

Please don’t forget: To enter any of the churches in Rome, you will have to have your shoulders and knees covered, otherwise you will be refused entry!

Tour Highlights
Circus Maximus :: St. Paul Outside the Wall Church :: Appian Way :: Catacombs :: Vittorio Emanuele Monument :: Vatican Museum :: Sistine Chapel :: St. Peter’s Basilica
Pick up time: approximately 9.00am
Return time: approximately 5.00pm
Full tour details can be found here: http://www.stefanorometours.com/tours/christianrome/    

We look forward to seeing you in Rome!

with love,

the Stefano Rome Tours team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ostia Antica: The perfect short tour outside Rome

If you are looking for a reasonably short tour, and one that takes you outside of Rome for a few hours, then our Ostia Antica Tour would be the perfect choice for you.

We pick you up at 9.00 AM from your hotel, show you the sites of the ancient town of Ostia Antica, and then return you back to your hotel at about 1.00 PM, giving you enough time for a siesta and to discover a little more of Rome!

However, if you prefer, you can also stay longer in the town for a small extra fee …

Ostia Antica is a fascinating town that has a wealth of Roman ruins and beautiful, well-kept frescoes. Amazingly, the town was the seaport of Rome during the Roman times, and just like Pisa, it was once located directly on the coast! Over the years, the drop in sea water level and the additional silting from the River Tiber means that the town in now situated about 2 miles inland from the Mediterranean coast.

Some of the oldest visible buildings date way back to the 3rd century BC. But the city did not peek in size until between the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, when its population reached 75,000 inhabitants, the size of a large town today. The Roman ruins in the town are perhaps second to none, apart from Rome itself of course. Some of the highlights include 2nd century mosaics, insulae (Roman apartment blocks), early graffiti, the theatre building, and the ancient warehouses along the old Tiber banks.

Please note: The ruins are closed on Mondays and also there are no restaurants on-site, so we recommend that you bring your own little picnic and cold drinks. The entrance fee, which is currently 6.50 Euros, is not included in the tour and should be paid on arrival.

We look forward to seeing you in Rome! Thank you for visiting our blog.

with love,

the Stefano Rome Tours team