3rd – 7th November

November is a good time to visit Rome as we expect the city to be still relatively quiet with the museums free of crowds and large tour groups. We have decided to still concentrate our few days on Raphael, studying his art and architecture in sitù. We shall include the art of Raphael’s contemporaries and all that influenced him to paint a full picture of Rome at the pinnacle of the High Renaissance.

We will discuss other great works as we travel around the city so if this is your first time to Rome you will not be missing out on the important sites and if you have travelled with us to Rome before, we hope there will be something new for you on this trip.

The highlight of the course will be the private view of the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel before it opens to the general public.


Wednesday 3rd November

Once we have settled in to the Hotel Ponte Sisto we will head out to explore renaissance Rome and set the scene for the life of Raphael. We will pass the Palazzo Farnese and discuss one of Raphael’s great patrons before visiting the little-known church of S.Eligio designed by Raphael. We will cross the Campo dei Fiori on our way to the Pantheon, the final resting place of the master. We shall end with an aperitivo in the Piazza della Rotunda. Supper will be at a great little local trattoria.

Thursday 4th November

In the morning we will visit Santa Maria del Popolo, home to the first of the two chapels Agostino Chigi, banker to Pope Julius II, commissioned from Raphael. The chapel is Raphael’s best surviving architectural project and the dome is decorated with mosaics of ‘The Creation’ designed by Raphael. The chapel was later ‘modernised’ by Bernini – including two wonderful sculptures by the Baroque master, along with an altarpiece by Sebastiano del Piombo. We will also take time to study the two paintings by Caravaggio elsewhere in the church.

After lunch we will visit the Galleria Doria Pamphilj housed in the lavish family palazzo. Here we will see Raphael’s double portrait and also discuss other highlights in the gallery by Titian, Caravaggio, Carracci and Bernini. Dinner at a lively pizzeria.

Friday 5th November

Early in the morning we will meet the holder of the 300 keys to the Vatican and join them as they open each room.  Our visit will take us through the main rooms including the Raphael Stanze and we will finish in the Sistine Chapel and watch as the custodian switches on the lights.  Here we will have the rare opportunity to study the frescoes without the crowds. After a delicious breakfast in the Vatican before it opens, we will stay on to study some of the areas in more detail.  On our way back from the Vatican we will briefly look at the Palazzo Jacopo da Brescia designed by Raphael before stopping for a light lunch.

The afternoon will be free for a well-earned rest, shopping or exploring further. Our tutors will be on hand to suggest place to visit. Supper at a place famed for their antipasto.

Saturday 6th November

We will spend the morning in delightful Trastevere. First we shall see the Tempietto by Bramante, followed by Sebastiano Del Piombo’s wonderful mural in the adjacent church with an interesting early project by Gianlorenzo Bernini. We will then visit the Villa Farnesina, originally built as the suburban villa of Agostino Chigi and decorated with fantastic frescoes by Raphael, Sebastiano, Sodoma and others. Trastevere is our favourite place for lunch.

In the afternoon we will see the truly beautiful fresco of Isaiah by Raphael in Sant’ Agostino and take the opportunity to look at Caravaggio’s wonderful Madonna di Loreto. Nearby is the church of Santa Maria della Pace with an equally elegant and intriguing fresco of the Sibyls in the second Chigi chapel commissioned from Raphael. Here we can also find the cloister designed by Raphael’s friend and mentor, Bramante.  An early dinner at an excellent restaurant in the centre of Rome.

Sunday 7th November

After a leisurely start we will visit the art collection at the Palazzo Spada which includes a beautiful Titian and St. Cecilia by Artemisia Gentileschi, as well as a painting by her father Orazio – a perfect opportunity to compare the two. In the palace garden leading to the river is a clever optical illusion using forced perspective within a loggia created by Borromini. After one last lunch we shall take our coach to the airport for the flight home.

Further Details


Dr Tim Hunter and Cat Manson will lead the trip. Both tutors know Rome well, and are not only experts in the art of the city but also know where to find the best restaurants, shops and cafes.


We will stay in the Hotel Ponte Sisto, a four star palazzo in the heart of Rome with a roof terrace. We have booked ‘Classic’ Rooms and you can upgrade to ‘Superior’ Rooms for £160 extra in total, please let me know as soon as possible as these are subject to availability.

Hotel website


We do not book the flights thus allowing you to travel to suit your budget, use airmiles, travel between different airports or on different dates. We recommend buying the following flights with British airways:

3rd November 09.35 London Heathrow – Rome Fiumicino 13.15 BA0554
7th November 17.25 Rome Fiumicino – London Heathrow 19.10 BA0559

The return flight section of BA is now very expensive, so we will also provide transport for a later EasyJet flight:

7th November 20.55 Rome Fiumicino – London Gatwick 22.40 EZY 8258


There will be a private coach for the airport transfer to meet the recommended flights. We will mostly walk but may also catch public buses and taxis.


There is quite a bit of walking on this trip, as well as uneven terrain. As is the case for all our courses, there is a lot of standing while we discuss the works we are looking at.


The fees are £1700 which includes accommodation and breakfast, all lunches, transfers for the recommended flight, transport when connected with teaching, entrance fees, the Vatican Private Visit, tuition, reading lists and local advice. The single room supplement is £150 (double room for single use). The upgrade supplement is £160 and subject to availability. Please state on the form if you would be happy to share. Not included are the flights, all suppers and travel insurance. The group will not exceed 16 people.

Covid-19 – We will send our safety protocol ahead of the trip. Please see our Terms and Conditions for our Covid Cancellation Policy.

To register
Please complete the online registration form, having read our terms and conditions and pay the fees via bank transfer. Please call 01379 871800 or email if you have any queries.

NB you must buy your own flights.

Registration Form

Terms & Conditions