Rome History Tour: Daily Life of Ancient Romans

From US$414 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • San Nicola in Carcere
  • Temple of Portunus
  • Temple of Hercules Victor
  • Circus Maximus
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Tour Description
Romulus and Remus myths aside, how did Rome begin? What were the causes of its success? How did typical people live and what was normal life like beyond the dramatic stories of emperors and gladiators? These are the questions we try to answer—and many more—in the course of this daily life in ancient Rome tour, which visits the Foro Boario (cow market), Tiber Island, and several Republican-era temples.

  • See Roman temples and markets
  • Learn about the daily life of ancient Romans
  • Visit less crowded sites
  • Led by a classicist or archaeologist

Daily Life in Ancient Rome Tour

Led by a classical historian, archaeologist or other scholar of antiquity, this tour takes us beyond the Roman Forum, Colosseum, and other "big name" monuments in Rome to discover an array of lesser-known ancient ruins not normally included in a typical tourist itinerary, but all the more amazing, unique, and critical to understanding Rome and her history.

 We begin in the Foro Boario, or cow market, of ancient Rome, located along the Tiber River, where we can discuss the importance of the river as a source of trade and the importance of trade to the development of Roman civilization. Although central, this is an area of the city that few people explore. However, it is filled with a tremendous wealth of ancient sites, including over fifteen different temples. We'll take the opportunity of being in a less-touristy part of ancient Rome to draw on our guide's wealth of knowledge and have them paint a detailed portrait of Rome's social and economic life during antiquity.

Republican-Era Temples

Nearby we'll find several of the oldest structures in Rome, some Republican-era temples as well as the Cloaca Maxima, the great drain (sewer) of ancient Rome. We'll find some comfortable shade and talk about the endeavor of temple building and the role of temples in everyday life. Although it may seem strange, we'll talk extensively about the sewer, arguably one of the most important things ever built in Rome—at least in terms of daily life—and it's still in use today!

Tiber River and Island

We'll eventually wind our way across the Tiber River to view the Ponte Rotto, or broken bridge, one of the oldest bridges in the world and filled with vivid stories. Our program will finish on Tiber Island, a fantastic place to find lunch or dinner. One of the hallmarks of this tour is the wide range of different sites visited. During our time together we'll visit an important early building complex from the Republican era, one of Rome's few surviving quadrifons arches, a circus racetrack, a two thousand-year-old bridge, and several temples absorbed by medieval churches over the centuries. It's a bit mix-and-match, but we'll tie it all together to provide a clear picture of what it would have been like during antiquity to live in the greatest city on earth.

Core of the Capital

Our exact itinerary will vary from day to day, depending on the specialization of our guide and the interests of the group. Often our conversation will center on daily life during antiquity, the evolution of the city from a small trading settlement along the Tiber to the capital of the world, the role of religion and cults, the palimpsestic urban layers that are unique to Rome, or architectural and engineering innovations.

Take Aways

This is certainly a walking tour that will interest return visitors who have a distinct interest in ancient Rome and want to discover the details of daily life in Roman times. But, at the same time it is designed to be accessible for any traveler who wants to dig a little deeper, get away from the crowds, and engage in a fascinating discussion about ancient Rome. It provides a fantastic counterpoint to either our Colosseum Tour or our Caesar and Empire Tour.


Is this tour suitable for visitors with mobility issues?
This tour isn't very walking intensive, but there are uneven cobbled lanes and venues. Clients who use a cane or who have difficulty walking may find this difficult. If you have any mobility issues, please contact us and we can design a tour adapted to your concerns.

Does this tour visit sites with a dress code? 
Yes, it usually visits San Nicola in Carcere church. All churches in Rome require modest dress.  Men should wear slacks, and women should wear slacks or skirts below the knee. Shoulders must also be covered. If you are intent on wearing spaghetti straps or a halter-top, bring a shawl and expect to keep it around you. Shorts above the knee are not allowed.

Is this tour good for children?
This tour isn’t part of our family program, which consists of tours designed specifically to engage younger learners. Families traveling with children under 13 may prefer to book our Ancient Rome Tour for Kids: Discovering the Colosseum and Roman Forum.

Where You'll Start
(4.65) 57 Reviews

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We're fans of Context tours: this one was simply superb. In what turns out to be an area not much bigger than a full NYC block, there are a host of ancient Roman temples - some in plain sight and others hidden within churches. Philip was an amazing expert in his field and gave us a fascinating and insightful tour. He stepped in on short notice to substitute for a guide who was taken ill, demonstrating the depth of talent within Context in Rome.
This was an amazing exploration of a "hidden in plain sight" space in Rome. Dimosthenis was wonderful and helped us see Rome in a totally different way.
Great tour with excellent guide. Expert in both historyand archeology.