A Taste of Ancient Rome
October 17–24, 2016
Our signature tour returns in October, 2016, a week of great meals, private visits, and fascinating encounters led by Elifant’s principals, Elizabeth Bartman and Maureen Fant.
How did ancient Rome, a city of a million people, manage to feed itself during the several centuries of the empire? And how do discriminating food lovers eat in Rome today? Those are our twin themes for our week in an around the Eternal City
Our search begins with an excursion to Portus and Ostia, the once-bustling port cities that received, and stored, the huge shipments of wheat from Egypt and elsewhere. It ends in central Rome where the bread dole was distributed to the urban populace.
In between we’ll climb the pottery mountain of the Testaccio quarter (made of discarded amphoras) and talk about how modern Rome took shape. We’ll vicariously experience how the emperor banqueted in luxury, but we’ll be dining (or lunching) with such enjoyment ourselves that we couldn’t envy Tiberius himself. We’ll visit a mozzarella maker (and meet the water buffaloes that provide the milk). We’ll learn what’s been happening in the Castelli Romani wineries in recent years, and we’ll learn by tasting that cucina romana means the creamiest ricotta (of sheep’s milk), the most flavorful artichokes and zucchini, more kinds of (delicious) broccoli and chicory than we care to count, great bread and pizza, the best deep frying (a Jewish contribution), and so much more.
If you’ve somehow never been to Rome, this trip is a great way to start. We can help you plan a few extra days to fill in some gaps. But even if you’ve been coming annually since college, our thematic approach will show you the city as you’ve never seen it before.
You’ll stay the whole week in one five-star hotel in Rome’s historic center so you can unpack and make yourself at home.
And this year we’re adding, as a separate tour, a second week exploring north of Rome, the area that was once southern Etruria. You can do both tours or just one.