Day Tour

Caesar and Empire (3 Hours)

Context Travel

Rome, Italy

Valid for Travel Now Through: 23 Mar 2019

Caesar and Empire (3 Hours )

Rome, Italy

Tour Features


  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing



Recommended Ages

12 and Above

Activity Level



With the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, Rome entered a period of political upheaval settled only when Caesar's nephew Octavian defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra, took control of the Empire, and claimed the title of Caesar Augustus. In this three-hour tour of central Rome we will look closely at this period and how, under the influence of the first emperors, Rome rapidly developed into one of the greatest capitals of the ancient world. Along the way we will weave a narrative of power and legacy as we visit some of the most important monuments of ancient Rome, including the Pantheon, the Theater of Marcellus, and Largo Argentina.

Our walk begins at the Theater of Marcellus, originally conceived by Julius Caesar as a statement of prestige in his war of status with Pompey, but built by his nephew Augustus after his death. As one of the largest Roman theaters still standing and an amazing testament to Rome's ability to adapt and reuse its buildings throughout history, we'll use this monument as a jumping off point to lay the groundwork of our time together. Depending on our docent, who may be an archaeologist, classicist, architect or other specialist, our discussion may take any number of paths. But, some central themes will emerge: the story of the Caesars and their political adventures at the turn of the millennium; the intersection of art and power; the development of Rome as the center of an empire; and the role of city-making in history.

Our path will follow, roughly, a kind of monumental way envisioned by Augustus when remaking the old Field of Mars into a new center for the city. We'll pass many of the structures that played a key role in this, including the Pantheon, regarded in the Renaissance as the most perfect building in the world. We'll also pass the site where Julius Caesar was murdered on the Ides of March. Although Julius and Augustus Caesar will occupy much of our time, we'll also look at many other emperors and their impact on the city as they contributed to the Imperial remaking of Rome. We'll look at how architecture was employed for political ends during the Imperial Period and how one can read that history today in the standing ruins embedded in the historical fabric.

Our walk will end in the vicinity of the Ara Pacis, a museum housing the great altar of peace commissioned by Augustus to signal the Pax Romana, or period of relatively uninterrupted peace ushered in by Augustus and lasting over a hundred years. In the shadow of Augustus' own mausoleum we'll discuss the legacy of the Caesars, both real and imagined, and how successive rulers down to the Fascists in the 20th century, drew on the narrative of Julius and Augustus Caesar to validate their own rule. We'll emerge with a new sense of Rome and her relevancy to issues today.

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