Among all of Roman roads, Via Salaria is the oldest. Today it has become the SS4. This road covers the stretch going from Rome to Ascoli Piceno. A complete set of marvels can be enjoyed when riding along this ancestral road across the Valleys of the Velino and Tronto rivers. Emperor Augustus mapped via Salaria just as it is today, and started its construction; later Emperor Nerva completed it. Centuries before the Romans paved these tracks, they were used by precedent inhabitants such as Sabines as a commercial route to transport goods from the Mediterranean towards the Adriatic and vice versa. The legend says Sabines have gone through these lands guided by a woodpecker and between the IX and the III centuries B.C. they settled on the lands where today Ascoli Piceno is situtated.
1st Day: Rome, Galleria Borghese
Check-in at the hotel. On the base of the remaining time on this first day after arrival, there are some suggested visits to do including the splendid Galleria Borghese. This museum houses the works of renowned Bernini, Raffaello, Caravaggio and Canova. Canova’s masterpiece: “Paolina Bonaparte” also called the “Victorian Venus” is one of the most famous and emblematic works in the museum.
2nd Day: Rome, San Pietro Basilica, Vatican Crypt, Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and Raffaello Rooms
Breakfast at the hotel. Meeting with the tour guide. There is an irrefutable truth: no visit to Rome will be ever complete unless it includes St Peter’s Basilica. The guided tour begins exactly here, at the biggest basilica on Earth. (15,000 sq m.) where visitors find incredible architectural and art riches: Michelangelo’s “Pieta?” is simply astonishing renaissance work. This Buonarroti’s masterpiece was commissioned as a funeral monument for a cardinal; there is also Pope John XXIII’s body for the veneration of the faithful; the mosaics at St Peters Basilica have been considered some of the most beautiful mosaics in the world; Lorenzo Bernini’s bronze canopy (St Peter’s baldachin) intended to mark, in a monumental way, the place of Saint Peter’s tomb underneath... the tour continues with the visit to the Vatican Crypt: a striking monumental complex below the Basilica which has been housing renowned Church members tombs since the first centuries including St. Peter’s and John Paul II’s. The Crypt has also got plenty of art riches belonging to the antique Basilica. The morning tour ends at St Peter’s square, Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s masterpiece of 1661. Lunch time: lunch is unscheduled. In the afternoon: the tour continues to the Vatican Museums (the Vatican City is cultural heritage patrimony) the visit includes the Gallerie dei Candelabri (“candelabra gallery”), the Galleria degli Arazzi ( “tapestries gallery”), Geographical Maps and the Room of the Immaculate Conception. The tour continues to the Raffaello Rooms; here the visitor will enjoy the famous “School of Athens” work done by Raffaello Sanzio between 1508-1520. The itinerary continues to the Sistine Chapel: Papal conclave seat, where visitors will be able to enjoy the most famous frescoes of the Genesis and Last Judgment by Michelangelo Buonarroti. The Sistine Chapel is one of the most famous artistic treasures of the Vatican City and the entire world. It was built between 1475 and 1483 at the time of Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere. Return to the hotel. Dinner time: dinner is unscheduled.
3rd Day: Coliseum, Roman Fori, Campidoglio, Venezia Square, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Navona Piazza
The Coliseum, whose real name is “Flavian Amphitheatre”, was built by the converging efforts of two emperors of the Flavian family: Emperor Vespasian begins it in 72 A.D. and later his son Titus finishes it in 80 A.D. At the same square the visitor will be able to admire the Arch of Constantine (IV c. A.D.) and the Arch of Titus (I c. A.D.). The tour continues inside the Roman Fori, the biggest archaeological area in the world is situated right here in the heart of Rome. Later, on top of the Capitoline hill, at the Campidoglio buildings (today’s town hall building) it is possible to admire the trapezoidal Campidoglio square designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti. The Conservatives’ palace and the New Palace constitute the Capitoline Museums. Going down to Venice Square, the dominance of the Vittoriano monument surprises the visitor. In fact, it is the biggest monument in Europe. Lunch time: lunch is unscheduled. After lunch, visitors might at their leisure include other visits or maybe some shopping along the most glamorous Roman streets near Spain square (Piazza di Spagna) and its famous Trinita? dei Monti Spanish Steps. Also, world most famous Trevi Square, one of the biggest baroque squares of Rome, immortalized by the film by Federico Fellini called “La Dolce Vita” (Do not forget to throw a coin inside!). Then, the majestic Pantheon, with its most famous cupola, has inspired Michelangelo and many others. Eventually, Navona square with the 3 famous Bernini’s fountains (Bernini is considered to be the father of Italian Baroque). A guided tour around “Baroque Rome” is available on request. Dinner is not scheduled. Night’s stay at the hotel. 4th. Day: Via Salaria, Vespasian Thermae, Amatrice, Accumuli, Arquata del Tronto, Ascoli Piceno After breakfast the visitor will be able to collect his/her rental car at Termini central train station. The itinerary continues by car along most ancestral Roman Salaria road towards Ascoli Piceno. Along this millenial route, the visitor will be able to admire the antique remains of Roman walls, bridges, aqueducts, villas and thermaes. Vespasian thermaes, near Cittaducale city, are definitely worth a stop. It is still possible to admire the big quadrangular tub which was once filled by means of spring waters coming down in the form of a water fall from a water pouring can above it. Since most remote times, people have spoken of the healer benefits of these spring waters. In the small village of Antrodoco, visitors will be able to enjoy most adorable church of Santa Maria Extra Moenia. The historic medieval village of Amatrice is set in a green basin amidst the hillsides of Della Laga mounts. Here the visitor is invited to make a stop to delight the palate with “bucatini all’amatriciana” one of the most typical and traditional pasta dishes of the Italian cuisine.
5th. Day: Ascoli Piceno, Archaeological Museum, Civic Gallery Painting, Diocesan Museum, Baptistery and Romanic churches
Ascoli Piceno has been compared to Florence in terms of art riches: it is like browsing an outdoor art history book. In Marche, Ascoli is better known as “the 100 towers city”. Ascoli is located in the confluence area of two rivers. The approaching visitor, arriving from one of the Roman bridges, has the stunning impression of being in front of some kind of art revelation. Visitors set off on a guided tour to the city. The visit to this wonderful historical town starts in Piazza del Popolo (People’s square), one of the most beautiful Italian squares. From the renaissance portal of Palazzo dei Capitani it is possible to have a 360° view of the long crenellated walls of XVI century castles; San Francesco church, the Loggia dei Mercanti and the art nouveau style of a-hundred- year-old Caffe? Meletti by Piazza del Popolo where guests may try its delicious traditional coffee “corrected” with “anisetta” (an espresso coffee with the addition of some anisette liqueur drops). The visit continues towards Piazza Arringo which is dominated by the caryatids of Arringo Palace, there a visit to the Civic picture gallery exhibiting the works of outstanding artists including Carlo Crivelli, Tiziano, Pietro Alemanno and Cola d’Amatrice. The visit continues towards the Roman Bridge along different “rue” of Medieval and Lombard neighbourhoods. The variety of antique architectural riches is endless including Romanesque churches, the Baptistery, and the peculiarities of the inscriptions on the architraves of the old houses with proverbs and sayings in Latin and Vulgar Latin. In the remaining free time the suggestion is a visit to the Malaspina building housing the Contemporary Art Gallery “Osvaldo Licini” and a romantic walk along the river embankment. Dinner time: dinner is not scheduled. Night’s stay at the hotel.
7th Day: Castelluccio, Visso
The stretch going from Ascoli Piceno to Visso, including Arquata del Tronto and the plains of Castelluccio, offers enchanting gems on the way. Here the beauty of the scenery is enhanced during spring when the snow of Mount Vettore has not melted yet and still the fields regain the colour of blossoming. Then there is the softness of the valley plains of Castelluccio also during summer with its gorgeous flowery fields. Visso is like an engraved village on a crest. It seems embroidered on a rocky hillside amidst enchanting scenery. The medieval village enjoys some incredibly invaluable works by Leopardi, the great Marchigian poet. The visitor will be able to read directly from his manuscripts, even one of his most renowned masterpieces: “Infinite”. On the way back to Ascoli Piceno it is possible to have dinner in Acquasanta Terme amidst fabled Castel di Luco, a round-shaped stunning medieval fortress.
8th Day: Check-out Breakfast. Check-out. Set off for Rome. Returning of the car at Termini central train station.
THE PACkAGE DOES NOT INCLUDE: flight ticket and airport tax, shuttle services, beverage, meals parking, excursions or tickets of any kind and anything which is not included under “the package includes”, individual booking processing costs.