Friday, June 9, 2017

Roman Holiday: Two great tours in the Eternal City

The Colosseum is a massive symbol of eternal Rome
ROME  More often than not, the second time you visit a destination will be better than the first. On that primary trip, travelers typically race non-stop through unfamiliar locations to view all the must-see sites.

Compare that to the second or third time around when there's a frame of reference combined with the luxury of time to seek and discover the hidden gems you overlooked on that initial trip.
Palatine Hill, Home of the
Roman Emperors (wikipedia)
Visitors to Rome this summer can take advantage of two incredible excursions offered by Through Eternity, an innovative tour company which has built its reputation on unique one-of-a-kind in-depth sightseeing programs. This year, Through Eternity is one of a handful of companies that have been awarded the opportunity to visit Nero's Golden House (Domus Aurea) and the Colosseum by Night.

Travelers have the opportunity experience these historic landmarks just as the Romans lived them, through the darkened torch lit tunnels of the Colosseum and the massive gold covered rooms of Nero's palace. The Golden House tour is aided by 3D virtual reality so visitors can see Domus Aurea just as it was in the time of the infamous Roman emperor.
The Roman Forum captures the imagination of a glorious past
For nearly two thousand years, Nero's 200 room Golden Palace has been hidden beneath Palatine Hill overlooking the Colosseum in Rome. Built between 64-68 AD the magnificent residence was destroyed by the Roman people and the Senate to erase the memory of Nero's extravagance and abuse of power.

According to some accounts, Celer and Severus, the architect/engineers of the palace, designed an ingenious mechanism in one location where slaves turned a huge crank that made the ceiling beneath the dome revolve like the heavens while perfume was sprayed to permeate the surroundings and rose petals were dropped on diners below.
Nero's Domus Aurea or
Golden House  (wikipedia)
The Through Eternityprogram begins in a vast column-lined portico complete with a grotto and waterfall that reside within alabaster walls. Courtyards and gardens filled with priceless paintings, mosaics and sculpture reveal themselves to visitors as they stroll through the cavernous complex before arriving at the Octagonal Room.

Here, Nero's guests would lie on couches and feast while admiring the heavens above.
Nero's frescoes are still
vibrant  (wikipedia)

Tours are done just twice a week at appointed times each day, making visits limited. Through Eternity offers a three part tour through the underground palace including the unique experience of donning 3D glasses and virtual animation to recreate the ruins just as they were in Nero's time.

The program concludes with a sparking glass of prosecco and snacks on a rooftop overlooking a 360-degree panorama of the Colosseum and Rome at night
Painting of a gladiator in
ancient Rome  (wikipedia)
The second program of this dynamic duo of tours is a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the Colosseum and historic past. Through Eternity begins with a moonlight stroll through the two-tiered Colosseum underground where gladiators and animals awaited their fates in side by side cages.
Through Eternity will take you into the labyrinth of caves once occupied by gladiators and animals  (wikipedia)
Even in daylight the labyrinth of corridors and caverns beneath the Colosseum floor were bathed in darkness illuminated only by torchlight. Archaeological digs have produced hundreds of lanterns that only provided  flickering visibility for the competitors before battle in the arena.
The Palatine Hill nestles beside the Colosseum overlooking the
ancient Roman Forum  (wikipedia)
In addition the tour guide teaches visitors about the ingenious mechanical equipment was used to  maneuver massive stage sets into the arena and even to occasionally flood the floor to create mock sea battles.

Following the Colosseum visit, take a walk through history in the Roman Forum to the Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo.

Through Eternity has been offering unique private and small group tours of Rome since 1999 with a philosophy of taking traveling travelers to many of the lesser known venues and relevant locations that are often located within the shadow of better known monuments and museums.
Victor Emmanuelle Monument at one end of the Roman Forum
sits beside Michelangelo's Campidoglio  (Taylor)
Guides speak fluent English and are selected for their intimate knowledge of Rome, their scholastic background and their professional expertise. It's a combination that provides a powerful experience through the love and passion the guides have for their city. 
The Colosseum at twilight beckons us to journey into the past
of a once glorious empire  (wikipedia)
Many travel experts say that the best way to "discover" a destination is to walk its streets and to immerse yourself into the sights, sounds and even the aromas of the place. (For details contact, Mary Liz Wheelis at The Suite Group 800-783-6904 or e-mail

Through Eternity provides the best of both worlds by providing unique guided walks that allow visitors to learn and discover as they meander their way through the past.

The old adage goes that "Rome is eternal" and the best way to find out is to explore Rome Through Eternity.