At the Heart of the Roman Empire – Rome was not the capital of a country. It was the capital of all the civil world..
Founded, according to tradition, in 753 B.C. at the confluence of many important commercial routes connecting Etruria, Latium and Campania, after the legendary period of the ‘seven Kings’ it became a Republic in 509 B. C.
After the sack perpetuated by Brennus in 390 B.C. the Romans began a vigorous policy of expansion in central and southern Italy, and then continued further on to Spain, Macedonia and Africa.
Carthage fell in 146 B.C: With the fall of Corinth, Rome became a Mediterranean superpower and was more and more attracted in the orbit of Hellenistic culture. The republican institutions began to falter.
By the 1st c. B:C:, but notwithstanding this the expansion continued with the conquest of Numidia, Pontus, Crete, Syria and Gallia. The murder of Julius Caesar (44 B.C.) and the struggle between Marcus Antonius and Octavian brought to the constitution of a new form of government, the Princedom, that will continue until the 2ndcentury of the Common Era. During these centuries the Roman Empire attains its maximum splendor.
With the 3rd century Rome, because of the extreme vastness of its dominions, starts losing its centrality, until when under Diocletian the Empire is divided in two parts, reorganizing profoundly all the institutions. Rome has a century of renovated prosperity.
In 313 Emperor Constantine officially authorizes Christian religion.
Rome was at then a megalopolis with 4 million citizens and the Roman Empire had about 50 million subjects.
Our private tour “At the Heart of the Roman Empire” explores the imposing remains of ancient Rome; we’ll follow the extraordinary history of the birth, pinnacle and fall of this mythical Empire and get to know its major protagonists.
First of all we shall visit the Colosseum, or Flavian Amphiteather, universal symbol of Rome.
It was a veritable miracle of engineering, designed to contain comfortably 60,000 people, endowed of about 80 exits, so that it could be emptied in just few minutes.
Elevators brought up the ‘stars’ of the competition directly from the underground area, so that the audience could see the wild animals and the human fighters appear out of nothing wrapped in a cloud of dust.
A complicated system of covering was activated by a special body of the Roman Navy to protect the audience from the sun (the gladiatorial competitions always started at noon !).
All this magnificent apparatus had been built in only 5 years , between 75 and 80 A.D., thanks to the generosity of the Emperor Vespasian, a member of the Flavian family, and therefore called Flavian Amphitheater.
At the Heart of the Roman Empire tour goes on with a walk through the monumental ruins of the Roman Forum, once the political and economical center of Rome, we’ll learn about the solid and well organized State apparatus and about the strong military support behind it.
The scenic Tabularium (today incorporated in the Capitoline Museum) once contained the State Archives, while the ‘Rostra’ at its foot was a large platform used by magistrates, politicians and others speakers to the assembled people of Rome.
By the Arch of Septimius Severus stood the ‘Umbilicus Urbis’, the symbolical center of the Capital.
The well preserved Senate (or Curia), the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, the grandiose Basilica of Massentius will lead us towards the Arch of Titus (c. A.D.82).
This famous monument, erected by Domitian to commemorate the victories of his father Vespasian and brother Titus in the Jewish war in Judaea (70-71 A.D.).
As the Empire extended its boundaries thanks to new conquests, the old Forum was consistently enlarged with the construction of the Imperial Forums.
The Imperial Forums consist of five large public squares built in a relatively short time (46 B.C. to 113 A.D.) respectively by Julius Caesar, Augustus, Vespasian, Nerva and Trajan. Emperors would spend their own personal money on these majestic buildings and squares out of prestige.
The forums were the busy, hectic and colorful center of city life: people gathered here to discuss political, social and economical matters. But there was space also for shops, markets, street food, gambling and entertainments of different nature.
Unfortunately under Mussolini good part of this area was demolished to build Via dei Fori Imperiali, the ceremonial street inaugurated in 1932.
One of the most famous monuments of Ancient Rome here is Trajan’s Column, commemorating the victory of a series of back-to-back wars over the Dacians along the Danube.
The narration consists of a series of spiral marble carvings around a 126 foot marble pillar. Once vividly colored, the column is to be ‘read’ from bottom to top as a sort of gigantic comic strip. Romans and Dacians march, build, fight, sail, negotiate and die in 155 scenes! In the end Trajan brought back an enormous booty that changed the aspect of Rome forever…
At the end of our Rome, at the heart of the Empire we will climb the Capitoline Hill, once the sacred area, where the famous temple of Jupiter stood.
From here you will enjoy an evocative view over the Forums and admire the elegant Renaissance patterns conceived by Michelangelo for the Capitoline Square.
If you’re interested in our At the Heart of the Roman Empire tour, you might also like to book our Rome with the Kids.
Cost of this tour
This tour lasts three hours and costs 280 euros up to six people (not per person), only private parties.
For larger parties send us an email!
Admission fees per person: Colosseum 20 euro.
We will take care of reservation but we need to know at least 15 days in advance
All sites are closed on January 1st – May 1st – December 25th
Dress Code and advice
Please wear good shoes, we’ll be waking on the ruins!
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