The Ancient Roman Republic Experience

Detailed Description

Two Week Study, Sites, & Recreation Tour

June 13-27, 2020

Price includes three star hotels with breakfast, WIFI, and A/C,

Transportation between cities and to Naples airport,

Knowledgeable guides for historical locations,

All background readings and selections for discussion on the trip from great Roman literati,

Expertly led discussion by Marsha Familaro Enright and Felicia Goglia of The Great Connections,

Vineyard and wine tour,

Presentation by an expert on the Ancient Roman Republic.

(Colosseum photo by Willian West on Unsplash, Rome aerial view photo by Dan on Unsplash)


Saturday, June 13-Tuesday, June 16: We’ll start in Budapest, a remarkable city in its own right with a stunning setting on the Danube. We’ll spend three days exploring the sights of this twin capital of Vienna, including the site of Aquincum, once a Roman military outpost. Budapest has history, architecture, art, and cuisine galore. Many important scientists and mathematicians were nurtured here, such as Paul Erdos.

And this is where the famous Stoic, Marcus Aurelius, one of the last “good emperors,” headquartered while he fought the Germanic Marcomanni, Quadi, and Persian Sarmatian tribes 161-180 A.D. While facing these wild tribes, he composed his classic Meditations, deep thoughts on how to navigate a difficult life.

After exploring the Roman presence and history, we’ll travel where the Roman army went, through the deep forests of Hungary and Slovenia, past beautiful Lake Balaton. On the way, we’ll stop at the picturesque medieval town of Maribor, Slovenia for lunch.


Tuesday, June 16-Wednesday, June 17: We’ll land here from Budapest in time for supper and to wander around in their unusual city plan.

On Wednesday morning, we’ll have a seminar on the History of Rome and the Roman People and then go to Patavium (Padua), the home town of its author, Titus Livius’ (Livy). This book gives us moderns a chance to see how the Romans thought about themselves.


Wednesday, June 17-Thursday, June 18: Patavium (Padua) claims to be the oldest city in Northern Italy, according to Virgil and Livy. It is also the site of the University of Padua, founded in 1222, where physicist, mathematician, and experimenter Galileo Galilei lectured between 1592 and 1610.

In an artistic direction, Padua is the setting for Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and Oscar Wilde’s A Duchess of Padua.


Thursday, June 18: After enjoying Padua’s sights in the morning, on to Lake Garda with a stop in Verona on the way. Verona has fantastic Roman architecture, such as the Ponte Pietra and a magnificent Arena, which is still used today. It is also the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Two Gentlemen from Verona.

But we won’t be staying in Verona, we’ll drive on to Bardolino, on Lake Garda.

Bardolino, Lake Garda

Thursday, June 18-Saturday, June 20: After our steady diet of amazing ancient sights and history, we’ll relax in Italy’s Lake Region in one of its most accessible towns.

Friday morning, we’ll delve into a son of Verona, Gaius Valerius Catullus. What we have of his work is a short collection, 126 poems. But they range from lyric and passionate love poetry to strident condemnations and laments at the death of his brother.

Later that day and Saturday morning will be open for swimming, hiking, and anything else you want to do.


Saturday, June 20-21: We’ll arrive in Arezzo later in the day Saturday and on Sunday we’ll have a vineyard and wine tour.

Arezzo was one of the Dodecapolis – the twelve most important cities of the Etruscans, those mysterious people. Conquered by the Romans in 311 B.C., it became a military station on the Via Cassia.

Finally, Rome itself

Sunday, June 21-Tuesday, June 23The Eternal City of stunning architecture, art, history, cuisine – and the “bella figura” where policemen wear Armani-designed uniforms. We’ll spend three days exploring with knowledgeable guides, and on our own.

SPQR “Senātus Populusque Rōmānus” – inscribed throughout Rome and referenced in their ancient literature symbolized the first representative government. The Roman Forum was the seat of and we’ll delve into the Forum and the other sights of world-changing ancient Roman history. We’ll discover the house and the thought of one of the world’s greatest statesmen and orators, Marcus Tullius Cicero. Cicero’s De Officis will be one of our works of study.

We’ll investigate the Campus Martius, the Field of Mars, in the heart of the ancient city and the site of so many ancient events. Parts of this ancient site are still visible, embedded in the fabric of the contemporary city.

We’ll also discuss Publius Vergilius Maro or Virgil’s Aeniad, the epic poem of Rome’s founding, so we can understand the way in which the Romans understood themselves.

Finally, we’ll enjoy the comedy The Pot of Gold of Titus Maccius Plautus. Of course, the food of Rome is important too!


Wednesday, June 24: We leave Rome and head for Neopolis (Naples), the ancient Greek city that became the playground of the Romans. Its museum holds the grandest art from Pompeii and elsewhere. We’ll investigate their Museo Arceologico di Napoli to see the amazing mosaics and paintings of Pompeii and a magnificent collection of ancient and Renaissance sculpture, many collected by the Farnese. But we won’t be staying in Naples!


Wednesday, June 24: After visiting the Naples museum, we’ll head to the smaller of the two cities which were destroyed by Vesuvius’ explosion in 79 A.D. Herculaneum has a spectacular set of sights.

Praiano, Amalfi Coast

Wednesday, June 24-Departures Saturday, June 27: After spending most of Wednesday in Naples and Herculaneum, we’ll end our voyage in the gorgeous town of Praiano on the Amalfi coast. There we’ll relax before heading home. Enjoy stunning beaches, kayaking on the sea, beautiful ceramics, and some of the freshest produce and seafood around.

For our final seminar we’ll read selections from Publius Ovidius Naso – Ovid’s Metamorpheses, 250 myths telling the history of the world. They have inspired such authors as Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Geoffrey Chaucer, and William Shakespeare. and have been illustrated in music, sculpture and painting. The dreamy Costeria Amalfitana seems a fit place for myth.

On Friday night we’ll share what readings we liked best from the trip and why. On Saturday, we’ll say our goodbyes!

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