Day Tour

Buried Under Rome (2 Hours)

Context Travel

Rome, Italy

Valid for Travel Now Through: 02 Mar 2019

Buried Under Rome (2 Hours )

Rome, Italy

Tour Features


  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing



Recommended Ages

12 and Above

Activity Level



The mithraeum under the Circus Maximus in Rome is one of the best surviving examples of this type of ancient, cavern-like subterranean temple. Mithraea such as this were used as gathering places for the adherents of Mithraism, a mystery cult that flourished in Rome between the first and fourth centuries CE. This particular temple was uncovered during the construction of a Fascist-era office building and is now open only to archaeologists and other scholars of antiquity. During this special on-site visit, our docent, a practicing archaeologist, will discuss the specifics of this particular mithraeum as well as the cult of Mithras and the other illicit religions practiced during the early years of the Roman Empire.

The layout of the Circus Maximus mithraeum exemplifies how the cult rituals were observed, from ritual feasting to the recreated act of killing and sacrificing a bull, the latter of which is a common scene depicted in ancient Roman relief sculpture. We will also visit the remains of Republican-era temples preserved nearby, sparking a conversation on how pagan monuments were often later converted into places of Christian worship.

Mithraism is our starting point and the main point of reference for the first part of the walk, but our discussion will widen into an exploration of the social, political, and cultural tensions in the early Empire. We will also consider the rise of Christianity and how this monotheistic religion eventually abolished all of the different mystery cults practiced in Rome.

Please note that due to the limited opening hours of the Circus Maximus mithraeum, this walk is subject to availability.

About Us

The Context vision is to create an atmosphere—a context, if you will—for curious travelers to engage with local experts; to give them access to places and cultures that might otherwise remain out of sight to the casual visitor; to invite them off the tourist track and into the real life of the people, history, and heritage that make these cultural capitals amazing. With no more than six people, you'll participate in an intimate, hands-on, conversational experience. No Tour Guides - Our docents are first and foremost scholars or specialists, with MAs, Ph.D.s, or other terminal degrees in their fields of study.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

Context walks can be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to the walk with an 85% refund. Within 48 hours all reservations are final and cannot be refunded. Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our docent, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the docent. No shows are treated as last-minute cancellations and are non-refundable. Cancellations within three business days need to be made by phone to the emergency number provided in your confirmation email. Cancellations within three business days made via email or by calling our U.S. 800 number may not be honored. Other terms and conditions may apply.

The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Reviews and Recommendations for Context Travel


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Italy trip

By: Joe C

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2018

Without question they did a superb job.
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"The Great European Tour"

By: MJ

Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2018

The trip was our first experience with Context and it was amazing!
Travel Advisor:  Donna Peacock
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By: Shari

Reviewed on: 17 Nov 2018

The 6 person maximum of Context tours really made for an intimate learning experience. The docents they get to lead the groups were top notch!
Travel Advisor:  Kelly Millington