A Taste of Ancient Rome - President's letter

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Dear Traveler,

I invite you to join me this October on a very special custom-designed AIA tour of Rome—7 nights in all, based in a luxurious hotel located steps from the Pantheon, in Rome’s historic center, that you will find a relaxing home for the entire stay.

Together with my good friend Maureen Fant, an American food writer (trained in classical archaeology) who has lived in Rome for the past 30 years, we will explore the intersection of archaeology and Roman food. Even, or especially, if you have visited Rome before, you will find much to entice you on this theme-oriented trip that encompasses ancient history, economy, agriculture, and social behaviors. As we visit diverse monuments and learn about food in ancient and modern Rome, we will discover how the Romans “were what they ate.”

Through our visits to bustling markets and well-stocked food purveyors, we will be conveyed back to ancient Rome, the capital, where foodstuffs imported from its vast empire transformed a humble kitchen into the world’s first gastronomic cuisine. But don’t think of roast peacock and dormice; think, rather, of the olives, legumes, grains, dairy products, and field greens that were always the basis of ancient Rome’s everyday diet (and the feast of choice for conservative aristocrats) and are still mainstays of cucina romana. Our visits, tastings, and meals will underscore the similarities between past and present. At the same time, we will sample some of the world’s finest foods—the pastas, sheep cheeses, vegetables, and wines of Rome are celebrated around the globe. And, not least, we will meet some of the people who, in a rapidly modernizing European capital, are dedicated to making sure that, at least in the kitchen, the Eternal City stays just that.

Our tour features special behind-the-scenes activities as well as excursions to lesser-visited ancient sites in and around Rome. Nor will we skimp on the sybaritic pleasures of modern Italy. Both in Rome and beyond, we will experience magnificent landscapes, delicious cuisine, and expert commentary. Throughout we will be accompanied by a professional guide and tour manager who will handle all of the travel logistics. Evening meals and tastings with Maureen and me at our favorite spots will be an option.

Rome has long been my favorite city, and I spend many weeks there each year for both work and pleasure, during which food—shopping, cooking, and eating with friends—is a major diversion. Like all lovers of Italy, I particularly enjoy visiting Rome in October. With the air turning cooler, the city feels refreshed, and the early harvest brings to the market such fall delicacies as persimmons, chestnuts, and porcini mushrooms.

I hope that you will take this opportunity to join me, Maureen, and a small group of AIA travelers on this special program. I can hardly think of a better way to spend some time in Rome this autumn!

Elizabeth Bartman
Archaeological Institute of America

P.S. Our group is limited to a maximum of 15 participants, so please contact the AIA Tours office today at 800-748-6262 or aia@studytours.org to reserve your space.

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