Immerse yourself in two millennia of civilization in Rome, a capital that showcases the glories of ancient Rome, the Vatican, and centuries of architectural styles—all of which serve as a backdrop to modern Roman life.

Starting at: $4,690 Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Pantheon, Rome  Piazza Navona, Rome  The Colosseum of Rome  The Roman Forum  St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City  Michelangelo’s early <i>Pieta</i> in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican  Interior of St. Peter's Basilica with Bernini's Baldacchino  The Sistine Chapel's frescoed walls and ceiling  Fountain at Piazza di Spagna with Spanish Steps in background  Trevi Fountain  Bernini sculpture, Piazza Navona  Dining al fresco in Rome


A One-Week Stay in Italy

9 days from $4,690

Immerse yourself in two millennia of civilization in Rome, a capital that showcases the glories of ancient Rome, the Vatican, and centuries of architectural styles—all of which serve as a backdrop to modern Roman life.

or Call 855-330-1542


Immerse yourself in two millennia of civilization during our new one-week stay. Here, the glories of imperial Rome, the religiosity of the Vatican, and the zenith of Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture all serve as a backdrop to modern Roman lifestyles. The Italian capital has influenced life well outside Italy’s borders, and it still remains an epicenter of history, culture, style, and cuisine. Yet, as you explore the city, notice how the neighborhoods feel like little villages, where life centers around the local piazza. Discover firsthand the enduring charm, appeal, and romance of Rome, the Eternal City. Enjoy accommodations at the beautifully restored historic Rose Garden Palace Hotel.

Highlights Include

  • Imperial Rome: Discover Rome’s enduring legacy during a tour of the Forum, imagine the crowds cheering gladiators at the Colosseum, and take a guided tour of the Pantheon.
  • The Vatican: Tour the Vatican Museum galleries, Raphael Rooms, and the Sistine Chapel with its renowned frescoes by Michelangelo. Then feel the overwhelming space and power of St. Peter’s Basilica, a dazzling display of the Renaissance and Baroque.
  • Galleries and Villas: At the opulent Borghese Gallery, view masterpieces by Bernini, Titian, Caravaggio, and other artists. Enter the Villa Farnesina, a Renaissance gem featuring frescoes by Raphael and other painters.
  • Off-the-Beaten-Path: Explore everyday Rome during neighborhood walks of the bohemian Monti Quarter, stopping at a studio specializing in mosaics, and Trastevere, a charming medieval neighborhood on the west bank of the Tiber.
  • Ancient Rome: Traveling to Ostia Antica, gain insight into the everyday life of Rome’s ancient port town as you walk through the archaeological park and explore a veritable city frozen in time.


Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Depart from gateway city for Rome, Italy.

Day 2 — Rome

Arrive at Rome Fiumicino International Airport. Depart by deluxe motor coach for the approximately one hour drive to the Rose Garden Palace Hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, each guest will receive a customized Welcome Kit containing general information about Rome as well as a map of the city.

Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available this afternoon and throughout the program for suggestions regarding tours, restaurants and independent activities. This afternoon, gather for a short orientation walk of the hotel surroundings.

This evening gather for a Smithsonian Journeys Welcome Reception, an opening presentation by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, followed by a welcome dinner at the hotel. (R,D)

Day 3 — Rome

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served each morning in the hotel.

Excursion: Depart for Vatican City, although the world’s smallest sovereign state, its museums hold one of the richest art collections in the world, gathered by art-loving Popes throughout the centuries.  With a licensed Vatican guide, wander leisurely along the Candelabra Gallery, the Tapestry Gallery, and the Geographical Map Gallery, where there are glimpses of the exquisite gardens of the Pope. 

Then reach the world-renowned Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo spent four grueling years painting the Chapel ceiling with frescoes depicting scenes from the Old Testament, including an incredible scene of the Creation. Enter St. Peter’s, the largest cathedral in the world.  Take a guided tour of its extensive collection of art, such as the breathtaking "Pietà" completed by Michelangelo when he was only twenty-two years old and stroll through the massive square.

Independent Exploration: The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure, have lunch and explore Rome on your own.

Tonight gather for an informal discussion on Italian food and wine with a focus on regional specialties. Then depart for dinner at a favorite local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 — Rome

Educational Focus: Delve into Rome, the Eternal City learn about fascinating ancient history with a local expert.

Excursion: This morning explore the backstreets of the historic center of Rome. Stroll through the Monti Quarter starting at Via Urbana with its workshops, art galleries, and boutiques, then climb the gentle hills to reach the picturesque Piazza degli Zingari, and proceed through the narrow streets with ivy-covered medieval houses of the Suburra.  Stop at Studio Cassio which for over 100 years has restored ancient Roman mosaics all over Italy from Pompeii to the Caracalla Baths in Rome. Enjoy a group lunch at a local restaurant.

This afternoon tour the Colosseum and see where gladiators and fierce animals challenged each other to death, purely for the pleasure of the Emperor and the public.  Continue to the Forum. See the Senate House, where the destiny of the Western World was decided, and view where Marc’ Antonio delivered his famous “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” oration on the assassination of Julius Cesar.  Gaze up at the Arch of Titus, which commemorates the Emperor’s victory over Jerusalem in 72AD; then see the Arch of Constantine, commemorating the conversion of Pagan Rome to Christianity.

Gather back at the hotel in the early evening for a Smithsonian Journeys Travelers’ Corner. (B,L)

Day 5 – Rome

Independent Exploration: Enjoy a morning and early afternoon at leisure in Rome. 

Excursion: Depart on a tour through the Porta Pinciana and under the stone pine trees of Borghese Gardens to the renowned Borghese Galleria for a guided tour of the museum.  Begun by Cardinal Scipio Borghese in the 17th century, the masterworks contained in the Gallery, including many significant works by Bernini, Raphael, and Titian, are surpassed only by the natural wonders of the gardens themselves. 

Excursion: This evening enjoy a walk around some of Rome's landmarks in a different light. Stroll by the Spanish Steps, then visit the illuminated Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Navona.

Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will offer you guidance on dining options this evening. (B)

Day 6 — Rome

Excursion: Today explore the neighborhood of Trastevere. Visit some of the old and storied churches of this charming medieval neighborhood and former working-class district. Stop at San Crisogono, one of the first Parish churches, estimated to be built in the 4th century and Santa Cecilia, built over the home of St. Cecilia, who was martyred in the 3rd century. Then tour the Church of Santa Maria, one of the most ancient churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Rome. According to a legend, it was built on an oily spring wherein 38 B.C. the birth of the Savior was announced. The church was begun during the pontificate of Callisto between 221 and 227 and finished by Julius I. At the time of Pope Innocent II, it was completely renewed and redecorated according to the Baroque style. 

Then tour Villa Farnesina, not unlike the Borghese family, the Farnese family was powerful, affluent, and similarly insatiable for Renaissance art.  This Villa is made up of a central block with a five-arched loggia which opens out into two parallel wings spread over six levels.  Visit the various rooms which include frescoes by Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, and Baldassare Peruzzi.

Independent Exploration: Lunch, the remainder of the afternoon and evening are at leisure. (B)

Day 7 — Ostia

Excursion: Depart central Rome by motor coach and head southwest of the city. Drive through the area of E.U.R., a modern quarter of Rome which originates back to 1937, to reach the ancient excavations of Ostia.  According to ancient tradition, Ostia was founded by the fourth king of Rome, Ancus Marcius, who was thought to have ruled in the late 7th Century BC.  As history progressed, Ostia became the greatest military and commercial seaport of Rome, a naval base, and a large city in its own right.  The inhabitants of Ostia were merchants, ship owners, craftsmen, laborers, freed-men, and slaves of different languages and religions. Ostia's cosmopolitan nature can be seen in the sanctuaries, temples, and shrines dedicated to the local gods, as well as to the Eastern ones, mainly Persian, Phrygian and Egyptian.  Ancient Roman building methods can also be seen next to the large-scale usage of mosaics and mural paintings.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and return to the city in the late afternoon. Join fellow travelers this evening for a Smithsonian Journeys Travelers’ Corner. (B,L)

Day 8 — Rome

Excursion: This morning visit the Pantheon. The original temple was built by architect and Roman statesman Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus between 25-27 BC. The present structure was completed by Emperor Hadrian and dedicated sometime around 126 AD. The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved of all ancient Roman buildings in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history. In the company of an expert guide explore this former temple and church with its majestic columned entrance and spectacular dome.

Independent Exploration: The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure to explore Rome on your own. 

This evening, gather with fellow participants for a festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant and reflect on the great memories made in Rome. (B,D)

Day 9 — Return to the U.S.

Depart by motor coach for Rome Fiumicino International Airport to check-in for flights to your gateway city. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)