Rome - Off the beaten track

Prices from £2,790


22 May 2019 - 28 May 2019
Duration: 6 nights
Ref: 19ROME
With: Nigel McGilchrist


Prices from £2,790
Single Supplement: £500
Deposit: £200

Book now

Availability: In stock

From: £3,190.00

To: £5,580.00

Your Total Price: £0.00

* Required Fields

Your Total Price: £0.00

Secure your holiday with a
deposit today?

OR CALL TO BOOK: 01280 820521


The sheer numbers of pilgrims and tourists visiting the most popular cities of Europe are now so numerous that it is often hard for small, specialised tours such as those run by Art Pursuits Abroad to get a foot in the door, let alone enjoy the art and architecture with any semblance of peace or time for reflection. Rome is perhaps the most conspicuous example of this problem.

Fortunately, however, Rome is so historically dense and vast, that there are still countless sites that are little known, little visited and which often speak more eloquently of the great city’s past than the traditional tourist magnets. Sometimes these sites are more curious in nature, and that in turn makes them more instructive. It is to visit such lesser-known places and works of art that this tour has been created. This new Art Pursuits Abroad tour will appeal most, perhaps, to those who already know the classic sites of Rome but who would like to deepen their knowledge of the city and to see some uncommon and unfamiliar beauties, offering a deeper look at one of Europe’s greatest cultural centres, in greater peace and quiet.


Nigel McGilchrist is an Oxford graduate who lived and worked in Italy (in Rome and in Orvieto) for thirty-five years before he moved to the island of Kythera in Greece where he now lives. He taught for the University of Rome, worked as an external Consultant to the Italian Ministry of Arts, and has lectured widely for museums and universities in Europe and the USA, in both Ancient and Renaissance Art. He contributed to several of the Blue Guides on Italy and spent nearly a decade walking, exploring and documenting the monuments and curiosities of the sixty inhabited Greek Aegean islands, preparing a new survey-guide of their archaeology, history and art – published in a complete version of twenty volumes as McGilchrist’s Greek Islands. He has been a lecturer for Art Pursuits Abroad in Italy for seven years.

DAY 1:

Morning flight at c. 8.30am with BA from London Heathrow to Rome. After lunch by the sea in Fiumicino town, our private coach transfer into Rome will detour for a visit to the beautiful gardens of La Landriana, to the south of the city. Created by the Marchesa Lavinia Taverna and designed by Russel Page, the gardens are an unmissable delight in their late Spring beauty. Continue to our four-star hotel in the heart of the Eternal City.

DAY 2:

A visit, by special arrangement, to the Neo- Pythagorean Underground Basilica at Porta Maggiore, with fine stucco decoration from the 1st century AD. Continue to the ancient Roman Via Appia Antica, the grand Tomb of Cecilia Metella, the Circus of Maxentius and associated archaeological areas along the ancient via Appia, followed by lunch in a Roman ‘colombarium’. In the afternoon, a private visit to Giambattista Piranesi’s only physical, architectural creation — the church of S. Maria del Priorato, and the Priory of the Knights of Malta.

DAY 3:

A morning spent in Italy’s largest Ancient Roman archaeological site after Pompeii, the ancient port-town of Ostia Antica, at the mouth of the River Tiber. Lunch at a local trattoria in the mediaeval hill-town of Ceri. The Church of the Madonna in Ceri has rare frescoes which date back to the 11th & 12th centuries. An afternoon visit to the beautiful Etruscan site of Cerveteri and to see the Tomb of the Reliefs, before returning to Rome.

DAY 4:

Visit the 4th-century church of Santa Costanza, for the earliest of all Christian mosaics, and the adjacent church of Sant’ Agnese, which were once in fields outside the city. Continue to see the mosaics at SS. Cosmas and Damian, Santa Pudenziana and Santa Prassede, finishing with the serene architecture of S. Stefano Rotondo. Lunch in a Trattoria close by the Colosseum. In the afternoon we look at the 5th-century wooden doors of Santa Sabina, and cross the river to Trastevere to see two of Bernini’s scultptural masterpieces: Santa Cecilia, and the Beata Ludovica Albertoni.

DAY 5:

A day out in the Roman Campagna to visit the volcanic Lake of Nemi and the Museo delle Navi Romane. We pass Bernini’s church of the Assunta in Ariccia on the way to lunch in Genzano – famous for its fresh white wine. Afternoon visit to the specatcular remains of one of Ancient Rome’s grandest religious sites, the 2nd century BC sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia at Palestrina, with a display of masterful floor mosaics. On the way we pass the curious, 17th-century hunting-lodge known as the ‘Triangolo Barberini’ between Zagorolo and Palestrina.

DAY 6:

Private visit to see the radiant L’Aurora fresco by the great Bolognese painter, Guido Reni, in the garden of Palazzo Rospigliosi-Pallavicini. Continue to the magnificently preserved Ara Pacis of the Emperor Augustus now in a custom-built museum building of rare modernity for Rome, designed by Richard Meier, before some free time for shopping or an espresso in the Spanish Steps area. In the evening we enjoy some very special private visits to the houses of painter Giorgio di Chirico, and then to the Keats Shelley House, where John Keats died in February 1821 at the age of twenty five. Afterwards, a final farewell group dinner.

DAY 7:

After breakfast we depart our hotel for a final visit, by special arrangement, to the sumptuous Villa Madama, designed and frescoed by Raphael. So splendid is the villa, it now serves as Italy’s guest residence for visiting foreign dignitaries*. In the early afternoon we transfer to Rome airport for our flight home, landing at London Heathrow at c. 5.00pm. *Alternatively, if this visit is not possible, we will instead take in the Villa Farnesina.

Please note that at this stage the programme is still provisional. Although we aim at the greatest degree of accuracy from the outset, some details, especially the order of visits, may be subject to change.


Specific fitness requirements for this Study Tour:

Rome is a big city, pavements are uneven, roads busy, and this tour has an intensive schedule. It involves a lot of walking and standing, sometimes on uneven ground and up and down hills or flights of steps. Museum visits require prolonged periods of standing.

Please note that all our Study Tours involve a significant amount of standing and walking, often across uneven ground, over cobbled streets, or up and down steps and inclines. While we do not have an upper age limit for participants, we require you to have a level of fitness which does not spoil other participents' enjoyment of the holiday and you should be able to walk at a reasonable pace and / or stand for at least thirty minutes without aid or requiring a rest.

If you are in any doubt as to whether a particular tour is suitable for you, please ring us to check before placing your booking.


Twin/double share: £2790 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £500
Tour without flights cost: £2690
Deposit: £200 per person


  • Scheduled return flights (economy class) with BA from London Heathrow to Rome Fiumicino
  • Transfers between airport and hotel and excursions (as appropriate) by private coach
  • Services of the lecturer and a tour manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters
  • Six nights B&B in the comfortable four-star Hotel Ponte Sisto
  • Two dinners and five lunches


  • Transport between home and London Heathrow
  • Travel insurance. We strongly advise you to be covered by adequate travel insurance.

Hotel Ponte Sisto****

Housed in a former monastery with a peaceful garden courtyard is the Hotel Ponte Sisto. Located in the centre of Rome close to the Campo di Fiori. The hotel features bright marble furnishings and floral decoration in its cosy and restful rooms.


  • Flat screen television
  • WiFi
  • Safe
  • Air conditioning
  • Minibar
  • Hairdryer


In the hotel’s inner courtyard is a beautiful garden with towering palm trees, an ideal spot to take breakfast during the warmer months. Overlooking St. Peter's and the roofs and churches of Old Town Rome is the hotel’s roof terrace, perfect for a sunset drink. The hotel features a restaurant ‘Gladiatore’, lounge bar ‘Nerone’ and a breakfast dining room.