A Taste of Ancient Rome

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 the twin themes of our signature tour, a week in an around the Eternal City featuring great meals, private visits, and fascinating encounters.

Our search begins with an excursion to the important and evocative sites of Portus and Ostia, the once-bustling port cities that received, and stored, the huge shipments of wheat (and wine and olive oil) from Egypt and elsewhere. It ends in central Rome where the bread dole was distributed to the urban populace.

During the course of our week in and around Rome, we climb the pottery mountain of the Testaccio quarter (made of discarded amphoras) and talk about how modern Rome took shape. We vicariously experience how the emperors banqueted in luxury (though Tiberius himself would envy our own repasts); we visit a mozzarella maker (and meet the water buffaloes that provide the milk), have a session with a wine expert, and 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. 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.

October 17–24, 2016
April 13–20, 2015